From Charles Pelton in PaidContent:
Could a film critic or arts editor moderate a readers’ discussion—live or virtual, about a new movie—something actually sponsored by AMC Theaters? You bet! Community-based discussions should be owned by metro (or national) media organizations. After all, they enhance brand equity by hosting local cultural discussions.What does Pelton say to those who have ethical concerns about reporters trading on their sources?:
...If a media organization has a reporter covering the healthcare-reform debate, it should host a sponsored health-care seminar, and that reporter should suggest the speakers, program the event, and lead that seminar.
Many organizations still believe that merely assisting in such a program would compromise reporters and editors’ professional ethics. That’s balderdash. What counts is honest disclosure about such relationships, and holding reporters and editors accountable – just like sources are held accountable – for what they produce.See, it's balderdash. All you have to do is tell the reader that you're selling out and, poof, ethical quandary disappears. Nothing to worry about. Now go out there, reporters, and talk to the kind of people most likely to draw a paying crowd and a big paycheck from private industry. That's news value.