On 29 March 2012 09:52, David Gerard
I visited WMUK on Tuesday and chatted with Stevie Benton (the new
media person), Richard Symonds and Daria Cybulska about this topic.
The approach we could think of that could *work* is pointing out "if
you're caught with *what other people* think is a COI, your name and
your client's name are mud." Because in all our experience, even
sincere PR people seem biologically incapable of understanding COI,
but will understand generating *bad* PR.
It would certainly be useful to have an agreed "approach" from our side.
What even might work? Our natural sort of starting point would be
but that probably doesn't fit the bill. Neither would a simple "set of
instructions", given that COI speaks to intention first.
I noticed that in the Bell Pottinger meltdown Lord Bell switched from
saying that the PR operatives had not actually broken the law (i.e.
minimalist on professional ethics), to a line that WP was really just too
complicated and fussy about it all. The latter is only convincing in the
absence of figures on the hourly rate being charged for whitewashing.
Almost by definition, service industries thrive on the principle that
can charge for doing a good job: we mostly prefer not to cut our own
I would guess that there is scope for presenting case studies, abstracted
from real things that have happened onsite. There must be a whole
of situations and outcomes by now. Where the punchline is "and the media
had a field day with the story", I think you're quite correct, it becomes
quite convincing that whatever the client was charged was too much.
There is an article which started out as Paid editing on Wikipedia and is
now Conflict of interest editing on Wikipedia It seems to be quite a
success judging from the number of links to it.