Monday, January 31, 2011

Can Journalists Accept Endorsement Money?

ESPN SIDELINE REPORTER Erin Andrews recently signed a deal to be a spokesperson for Reebok. Is there anything wrong with that?

"Journalists can review products," media ethicist Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute told The Oregonian. "But they can't take money from a company to endorse them. That totally ruins their credibility."

ESPN responded by saying that if Andrews reports on sneakers, she'll reveal her connection to the brand.

Does disclosure and transparency resolve the credibility issue? Or is a sports journalist tainted by taking money from sports equipment makers?

Does the endorsement money change Andrews' role from being an objective journalist to being a sponsored celebrity?

8 comments:

Sarah Mariano said...

It's not in the journalist best interest to do so. Doing that could ruin their credibility, but some journalist may hold true. Just because a company wants you to help sell their stuff, doesn't that the journalist will sugar coat any stories about them....hopefully.

Kate McCann said...

100% journalists should not accept endorsement money. That is not a part of journalism, and it's not being true to the public. The journalist's job is to objectively relay facts and news to society. By connecting themselves with a brand or team, it completely diminishes their reliability as an objective reporter.

If Andrews wants to be endorsed by Reebok so badly, she should no longer be labeled as a journalist, and should solely be a spokesperson for Reebok.

billydelion75 said...

For me, I don't see anything wrong with what she did. I think it takes a little perspective. Her endorsing Reebok sneakers, I do not feel, is going to impact the information we look to her for. She did not accept money from a sports TEAM. I think it was a savvy business move. It's good exposure and I do not see sports fans making a fuss.

Rich Molinaro said...

I don't think it is too big a deal as long as they have endorsements outside their realm of work. For Erin, she recently did a report about the negatives of Nike before she signed this deal. In thatway, she loses credibility by reporting negatively about another brand. But, for example, is she started endorsing like a facial cream like Proactive, I don't see much wrong with that. She reports on sports and it is doubtful that she will ever report on different acne creams

Courtney Kreiser said...

The problem with signing an endorsement deal is that a contract will not allow her to speak negatively about the brand or to make other brands look good, thereby removing her ability to be objective as a journalist. If the endorsement were to be completely unrelated to the journalist's focus, however, I do feel there would be an issue.

Wes said...

Hasn't she already crossed the line by being paid to be on Dancing with the Stars? She should leave the endorsing to athletes.

Sarah D'Agostino said...

To add to wes' comment, I think it does in fact make her appear biased which could potentially lessen her credibility in general. I do, on the other hand think she is free to do whatever she pleases as long as she is being professional. I don't see a problem with an endorsement, it's just a shoe not a team.




...if i was that pretty I'd probably do it too!

Arick Unger said...

This is the equivalent of a reporter embedded in Afghanistan reporting on the War endorsing a type of anti-tank mine or something. Really seems like a slippery slope, though people are certainly allowed to make their own career choices (bad or good). When she comments on plays made in the game will she recommend that 'Vick should have come out in his Reeboks this afternoon to get more turf grip' because she certainly can't say the opposite of that! A journalist willingly choosing to lose credibility on an issue in exchange for money (be it as small as athletic shoe choice) can not be that great of a journalist. Otherwise journalistic credibility and integrity on all issues would be the top priority ya dig? Furthermore, transparency is very much an issue. But if Reebok ever thought Andrews would be completely unbiased and maybe talk a little smack on their brand (Like she did with Nike) they would not have hired her in the first place. They fully expect her to promote the brand.