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Jon Fine Examines Dan Abrams and the Rise of the “Journalist-Consultant”

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It’s been about five months since former MSNBC anchor and general manager Dan Abrams launched Abrams Research, a media strategy firm. The controversial part, from the start, has been the firm’s stance that it will use a stable of both former and current journalists to advise its clients.

As you can imagine, many media properties would not be all too happy to find out reporters are making extra money on the side by advising companies they could potentially cover. Abrams insists that current journalists will not be able to advise companies in their areas of coverage.

BusinessWeek media columnist Jon Fine dug into all of this in his column last week, which drew a response from Abrams when he appeared on mediabistro’s Morning Media Menu podcast on Tuesday.

Said Abrams:

It is interesting to me the timing [of the column]…Jon suddenly takes an interest in criticizing my business four and a half months in, for the same issues that you point out that people mentioned in the beginning, when lo and behold, there’s rumors that I could be creating a content producing site about media, that lo and behold, might compete–might, according to Jon–with mediabistro.

Well, isn’t that coincidental, that suddenly Jon is publishing his concerns about my business?

The site in question is a “media blogging and aggregation” site, potentilly akin to Ariana Huffington‘s Huffington Post or Michael Wolff‘s Newser. Fine goes on to clarify in a blog post: “the potential launch of a media site is not what I found troubling about Abrams Research. It’s the situation with working journalists serving as corporate consultants…”

One thing seems clear – the company doesn’t want to be labeled a PR firm. In a brief discussion with an Abrams Research consultant, this PRNewser called the company by that name and was quick to be corrected that they are a “media strategy” firm.

That being said, there are PR people who also report – the editors of this blog included, but you know who we are, and where to find us. As Fine states, “There’s much more muddiness in Abrams’ new venture.”

UPDATE: WebNewser has their take on the back and forth here.

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