When 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.”