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Old 11-25-2008, 07:26 AM   #81
Eric R Cohen
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Re: Marketing

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Originally Posted by Randy Tarasevich View Post
I was actually told by two different newspaper editors in my area that it is considered unethical for a journalist to write favorably about a product/service in exchange for that product/service for free. I thought that was generally accepted practice in journalism. I mean, come on, like journalists epitomize ethical behavior
In my experience there are different degrees in this area. An auto-reviewer can't accept a new car as a gift, nor can a business reporter accept stock in exchange for favorable reporting. But a small town newspaper can accept some barter in exchange for favorable press. As long as the local publisher believes in the quality of the product or service. I've seen something of a double standard between the "ethics" of National media or big city media vs. small time stuff. I have friend who's a travel writer for some national magazines. She gets her travel for free and then writes about it. Of course she's not impartial, but that's to be expected. Anyway, I've found within reason this stuff is just part of business.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:12 AM   #82
Daniel Freedman
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Re: Marketing

Actually, travel and auto journalism have the weakest ethical standards. Many media outlets have strict codes of ethics that prohibit acceptance of any freebies. But sometimes these codes only apply to staff members, not freelancers. That's a giant loophole. So these outlets fill their travel and auto sections with stories from freelance contributors who have accepted freebies.

When I ran a TV newsroom, there was a strict no freebie policy. On one occasion, we even re-imbursed the subject of a story for travel in his private plane. (He thought we were nuts.) The basic principle is "nothing of value" should be accepted from a source -- because it compromises your independence and makes the story suspect. Some especially zealous reporters even refuse food or drink offered at news conferences.

I do not agree that it is ever acceptable for any media outlet anywhere to "barter" positive coverage for goods or services. Ads can be bartered. But editorial coverage shouldn't be. Media outlets sell ads. They shouldn't sell editorial coverage. It is not "just part of business."

Getting back to CrossFit:
I'd say it's perfectly acceptable for a reporter to take a free class -- or even several weeks of free classes -- as t research for a story. After the story appears, the reporter should be treated as any other client. Finally, DJs and TV show hosts are not the same as news reporters; they tend to have fewer ethical qualms.

My advice to affiliate owners: Do not offer freebies to reporters. What you're really saying is "I'll give you something of value (free membership) if you give me something of value (a positive story.)" This is completely unacceptable because you and the reporter have conspired to betray the reader's trust.

Taking a bribe is bad. So is offering a bribe. You insult the reporter and demean yourself. Don't do it.

Last edited by Daniel Freedman : 11-25-2008 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:26 PM   #83
Daniel Freedman
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Re: Marketing

One last point, which may not have been clear in the post above. An exception to a strict no freebie policy would be accepting complimentary tickets, books, or CDs to reviewers. The journalist gets something of value, but there is no guarantee of a positive review.

The same guidelines could apply to a complimentary CrossFit workout (or workouts). It's fine, as long as there is no advance quid pro quo: extended free services in return for a positive article. And any complimentary services must end immediately after publication....regardless of whether the article is positive, negative or neutral. The idea is to divorce content from the free services.

Last edited by Daniel Freedman : 11-25-2008 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 11-30-2008, 03:50 AM   #84
Tish Traster
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Re: Marketing

Pehaps I'm a tad ADD...or maybe I just value my time, idk. However; if a website has a Flash intro, (unless it's selling something I absolutely have to have), I immediately close the tab and look for another site. Again, maybe it's ADD or that I just really value my time and don't want to waste it watching a website load. But that's just me ;-)
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