I was looking through the webite of a journalist, whose work I’ve really enjoyed for a long time, when I found something unsettling. Recently, he had written a long, positive story about a company… and now that company turned up as a sponsor of his website.
What to do?
This is probably the wrong thing to do, but I worte him a note. And, actually, I was mostly satisfied with the answer I received.
I have been a fan of your writing forever. However, I am distressed to see your site ‘sponsored’ by (company name) after you did a full, extremely positive, magazine column on them recently.
In my opinion, this would be different were it not on your own personal site. At the publications you write for, there is a (or at least there is claimed to be) a separation between sales and editorial. Once you personally take money from (compan name), that separation ceases to exist.
Is there something I’m failing to see?
Here’s the answer I got:
I removed his name and the name of the company because, though this shouldn’t have happened in the first place, it stopped quickly. As I said, I have read this guy since the beginning and will not fry him for one misstep.