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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Tripsas’

NYT Defends Blurry Ethical Territory, Takes Swipe At Bloggers

111new_york_times_building.jpgThe New York Times has had a hell of a time in the last six months trying to determine just exactly how much freedom to allot to their freelance (or non-staff) writers. And the latest public editor column makes it clear that the newspaper is not interested in bending its rigid ethics rules for anyone.

A few months ago, there was a controversy surrounding Mike Albo, a Times freelancer who went on a Thrillist junket to Jamaica and, even though he didn’t write about it for the Times, was fired for accepting the free trip. Then there was Mary Tripsas who had her flight (and room and board) paid for by 3M as she checked out the company’s innovation center. She later wrote about it in her New York Times column “Prototype” and gave it glowing reviews. She has been asked to leave the Times.

And apparently there is a third, more recent case of Joshua Robinson, who sought free trips from airlines pitched stories to airline magazines in exchange for airline tickets, while describing himself as a Times reporter even though he wasn’t working on a project for the paper. (Editor’s Note: To be fair, what freelancer wouldn’t boast about those Times clips on his resume?)

So why, Times public editor Clark Hoyt asked, should these writers be punished? Why should freelancers be held to the same ethical standards as the people who get health insurance, benefits and secure employment? After all, is it worth writing for a prestigious institution if there are no perks to be had?

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NYT Freelancer Takes Perks, History Shows Firing Imminent

Ent6634.jpgWhen the daily e-mail group Thrillist.com held its JetBlue Mystery vacation for 150 journalists and contest winners in October, it raised a huge stink with publications who claimed that having their writers Tweeting about a free trip to Jamaica constituted an ethical violation. Most infamously, Mike Albo was fired from his freelancing gig at The New York Times following the incident.

So if the Gray Lady is taking the stance that even non-full-time employees can’t take gratis perks and write about them (even on their own personal blogs, Facebook accounts, etc.) then it should be a no-brainer that Mary Tripsas, who writes for the Times‘ “Prototype” column, should fall under the same disciplinary measures for writing about 3M Company’s “innovation center.” She penned a column about the center for the Times after being given a free trip (including room and board) for the official tour. But Tripsas is pleading “not guilty.”

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