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March 02, 2007

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Phil Pan

kaiser, tsk tsk, but i suppose you could argue it's ok to take a cheap lava lamp from google given all the revenue they've taken from newspapers.

Zhang Di

haha,,,chinese pr set up two sign-up stands...the one for chinese reporters is offering travel money together with poorly written press releases, and i queued here. I saw the other stand for foreign media offer Chinese silk...

Will

Interesting. I don't think we've ever run into that situation. I do the foreign media relations training at my agency and I give our local staff a pretty clear edict: No hongbao for foreign media. So far, no impecunious western hack has got up our nose for shortchanging them. I'll have to consider telling my staff what to do if this situation arises (although it would be unusual for us to have a foreign media event without me or another senior foreigner on hand). I can't even recall giving good schwag, but it's probably because my clients just aren't that glamorous.

But I figure with media consolidating, journalists being laid off and salaries probably under pressure that it's only a matter of time. Wait until News Corp or Tribune or somebody else figures out that they can use PR firms to subsidize their foreign correspondents' salaries. It'll become official policy, although there might have to be a little lobbying first about that troublesome FCPA. Then some poor schlep like me (but with even thinner ethics) will have to explain it to the world.

Imagine the press conference, and this exchange between a journalist from a righteous organization not participating in this scheme and some poor flack not unlike me:

Journalist: "Doesn't this completely undermine the independence of the media, erode it's value as the fourth estate, and raise grave doubts as to the veracity of news coverage originating from China?"

Flack: "On the contrary, we see this as a public service and net positive for the news media. Budgets for foreign bureaus are under pressure and were pleased to do our part to ensure that people overseas can continue to have access to the high quality China correspondence that they have grown to expect over the years."

Note how the negative question was not repeated back to the journalist, but turned into a key message delivery opportunity. Suh-moothe! (Ducks for cover...)

richard

I've never had a foreign journalist ask for a red envelope, and several have told me they were not allowed to accept them. This post is really surprising. I'm sure it's true, it's just strange.

The Dog

When in China....

How is a red envelope any different than the kind of networking perks that reporters recieve in the west?

At least Chinese reporters are honest about what they do... "Give us money for coverage". Western reporters hide behind covert schemes to hide the kick-backs they get from huge corporations.

I say more foreign reporters in China should be asking for those Red Envelopes...it sure beats a dumb lava lamp.

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