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Arment Dietrich

Offering Journalists Cash?

By: Arment Dietrich | November 28, 2006 | 
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With Thanksgiving, new clients, and loads of travel, we’re behind in our blog entries. So please forgive us while we catch up and comment on things that happened more than a week ago.

 

What the heck happened to Burson-Marsteller?  We don’t like to find the weaknesses in other PR firms, even if they are competition, but this is asinine.  

 

According to the U.K. drug industry’s self-regulatory body, the PR firm offered cash to journalists to attend a hearing of the government drug regulator!

 

Even better, it was written:

As it is possible that the hearing will take up most of the day, and we understand that your time is valuable, we are able to offer £200 (~$388) if you wish to attend.

 

The article we read states that Burson-Marsteller told PR Week that it was “human error”, but we could not find the article nor could we find any information on whether or not the employee still works for the firm.

 

While we don’t advocate firing an employee if it was human error — albeit a very big mistake that affects the entire firm’s reputation — we do believe in coaching our clients if they ask us to walk the ethical line.

 

Spin sucks, especially if PR professionals are offering journalists money to cover a story!

3 comments
JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

Seems sort of prescient considering the BM missteps since then. One of those "saying it was human error/oversight makes you look lazy and/or stupid, being aware of it makes you look like a jerk" situations.