[Editor’s Note: Tom Foremski has a great deal of experience, having worked at the Financial Times as a news reporter and columnist. While John and I have a combination of strong editorial and business experience, Foremski’s been around the journalism block more than both of us, so he knows of which he speaks. –mrh]
This is what happens when you have unpaid or low paid writers. Daniel Brusilovsky, a reporter for Techcrunch, was sacked after someone accused him of asking for a Macbook Air in exchange for a post about a company.
Mike Arrington, founder of Techcrunch said that all of his posts have been erased from the archives. And that Mr Brusilovsky did manage to get at least one computer from an unnamed source in exchange for coverage. [An Apology To Our Readers]
He was described as an ‘intern.’ Which means he was unpaid, or paid the minimum California wage.
Some observers said that he didn’t know what he was doing because of his age, 16. But he spent nine months at Techcrunch and saw how things are done. He knew what he was doing.
Are other reporters and bloggers for online news sites vulnerable to bribery? Yes, they are, especially if they aren’t paid or low paid — which is the case with most. Low wages are endemic because advertising supported news sites don’t make that much money per post.
I’m surprised more stories haven’t surfaced about this type of behavior. It’s no wonder that the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer found a large fall in trust for all media.
[Editor’s Note: Tom cross-posted this at Silicon Valley Watcher. –mrh]