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Blurring the Lines: Pogue, Snow Leopards and conflicts of interest

Blurring the Lines: Pogue, Snow Leopards and conflicts of interest

By: Justin Finnegan, Senior Account Executive, (@justinfinnegan)

New York Times tech columnist, David Pogue has been under fire because he seemingly had a conflict of interest by giving Apple’s new OS, Snow Leopard, a glowing review, while at the same time writing a book about the Apple’s Snow Leopard OS.

This week, Pogue appeared on Leo Laporte’s podcast to defend himself, citing that other top tech writers have similar conflict, name dropping The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and USA Today’s Ed Baig. He also went to say that he’s never claimed to be a journalist, calling himself an “opinion” columnist, so technically a conflict of interest didn’t exist. (Valleywag, by the way has an excellent takedown of these claims, including clips from the Laporte podcast.)

As print journalism continues to lose influence, more and more print journalists are looking for additional revenue streams, in some cases finding more success outside of newspapers. (Clark Hoyt, the Times’ public editor has a phenomenal read on this whole situation. He cites a number of other Times reporters who bank on additional projects outside the purview of the Times, but the paper has painted itself into a corner because it can’t deprive its readers of their reporters expertise, nor ask the reporters to give up their outside interests as the New York Times needs the publicity.)

As the lines continue to blur, it will be interesting to see how the traditional media handles these conflicts, which will no doubt increase in frequency in the next few years. Will they ignore these conflicts, adopt a new code of ethics or draw a line in the sand?

1 Comment
  • Chris Michaels

    September 25, 2009 at 9:35 am Reply

    Amazing how he claims not to be a journalist, but was the keynote speaker at last year's national convention for the Society of Professional Journalism.

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