Back where I come from in the world of newspapers, an editor would practically pull off a reporter’s fingers, one by one with a pair of pliers—then fire the sinner—for accepting a can of caramel corn from a source who wanted to say “thanks” at Christmas.
The caramel corn, and other gifts that came to the newsroom, were usually trucked to the nearest old folks’ home, lest we be guilty of violating our ethics policy.
But ethics be damned at beauty magazines. At least that’s my conclusion after seeing this item at the Gawker blog about Pantene. The shampoo people are sending a questionairre to New York editors of beauty magazines, asking how they want to receive news items. One question also deals with what kind of “follow up” they’d prefer.
Journalists are given these five choices: gift certificates to upscale retailers, gift certificates for swanky services like spa treatments, the hottest fashion accessories like Gucci bags, electronics as in iPods, or home office accessories.
I’ll bet you a bottle of hair conditioner that the Pantene people don’t give a damn how the beauty editor at The New York Times prefers a follow-up.
Give ’em credit for this. At least they said “please check only one box.”