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Yesterday, The Toronto Star broke the news that Leslie Roberts, newscaster and executive editor for Global Television, had been suspended from work due to the fact that he also happens to be “creative director” and co-owner of Buzz PR, an independent shop that describes itself as “Toronto’s top public relations agency.”
Roberts’ “crime” was breaking through the wall between media and PR and doubling as both advocate and journalist.
To answer the inevitable question: yes, he “tweeted positive comments” about the firm’s clients and, even more egregiously, featured some of them on his TV shows.
This is about as big as ethical violations come.
In his defense, Roberts claims that he simply provides media training tips to those clients and that they don’t pay him to appear on his shows.