More on the information responsibility theme
Journalists may grumble privately about practices such as BM’s badmouthing of Google, but few would be as brave as Mr Soghoian in exposing them, thereby jeopardising their relationship with a powerful PR agency. The incident shows how the upheaval in the news business is working for, and against, the PR firms. Newspapers and other old media are losing influence—and thus becoming less worth lobbying. But job cuts and online obligations mean journalists are also more desperate for copy, making them a softer touch. Research by Jamil Jonna of the University of Oregon (originally for a book, “The Death and Life of American Journalism”, but since updated) found that as newsrooms have been slimmed and PR agencies have grown fatter, for each American journalist there are now, on average, six flacks hassling him to run crummy stories (see chart).