WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Fri - 28.11.2014


TechCrunch

Is it wrong for a PR firm to forego a monthly retainer, and charge its clients only when it succeeds in getting them mentioned by the media?

Does it make a difference if the PR firm is doing this to help startups shy on capital?

What about if the PR firm has put specific price tags on particular media outlets?

These are the questions that public relations professionals, their clients, tech bloggers and their readers have been grappling with in the wake of yesterday’s announcement by TechCrunch Co-Editor Alexia Tsotsis of a blog-wide ban on PR company PRServe, following her discovery that the firm had been charging clients $750 for getting them covered by an “A-level blog like TechCrunch.”

Chris Barrett, the Founder of PRserve, responded by posting a notice on the company’s website in which he claimed to be “confounded” by the situation. “The only difference between how we share stories and the way a traditional PR firm works is that we do not charge a $5,000 monthly retainer, irrespective of results. We only collect an extremely modest amount for successful stories (a flat rate of $425 - $750 per story), depending on the media outlet,” he wrote.

Author

Emma Knight's picture

Emma Knight

Date

2012-11-09 19:24

Lately, media bloggers seem to have gone on a philosophical quest: they are all desperately seeking the meaning of journalism. No one has quite decided to head off into the desert and fast until they have an epiphany, but surely that can't be far off. Nieman Lab, BuzzMachine and GigaOm have all run pieces discussing the nature and future of journalism.

What prompted all this serious en masse soul searching?

Well, the current TechCrunch confusion is partly to blame.

Begin the debate about objectivity v transparency in journalism:

As C.W. Anderson of Nieman Lab points out, objectivity is a standard that journalists cling to - there is no ideology attached and therefore no bias. The troubling thing about objectivity as a journalistic perspective is that it is pretty much impossible to achieve.

Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-09-08 14:32

... The awkward moment when you realise you've given two conflicting contracts to two powerful Internet entrepreneurs and they both expect you to honour them...

That was the situation AOL Chairman Tim Armstrong found himself in after having purchased TechCrunch from its founder Michael Arrington one year ago for the hefty sum of $30 million. Initially, there was no problem; Arrington was allowed to continue working at TechCrunch and was promised a position there for a minimum of three years - despite planning to establish the venture capital firm CrunchFund, which invests in technology start-ups.

Clearly, this does present something of a conflict of interests, as AllThingsD points out. But AOL wasn't interested in the potential stumbling block presented by Arrington's foray into venture capitalism, in fact they were the business' biggest source of financial backing, supposedly investing around $10 million.

This all changed when Arianna Huffington started to get involved.

Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-09-07 18:45

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