For example, a well known publicist such as Brian Solis can drive more traffic to a story via his blog, Facebook and Twitter than many journalists. For bloggers and other online journalists paid by the page view, this can be an enticing addition to a story pitch.
Of course there are a number of of ethical issues around this, namely:
1) PR people will only promote stories that show their client in a favorable light. Those “promoted” stories could end up on popular news aggregators, thus skewing news. This happens anyway – every reporter should understand that PR will circulate “positive” stories – but it could be magnified moving forward.
2) The bigger issue, as Foremski notes, is “When pageviews are a surrogate for payments, driving traffic then becomes a proxy for a payment to the writer.”
Breaking news and “scoops” will always trump a little “PR boost” in terms of getting attention, but we’re still curious as to the effects of this. Have you offered to “drive traffic” to a story you pitched? How did the reporter react?