Grow Missouri is a conservative political action committee funded by billionaire Rex Sinquefield – described as “the Show Me State’s version of the Koch brothers.”
Apparently not knowing the ethics rules for journalists, a PR woman working for Grow Missouri has asked St. Louis reporters – including one who covers Grow Missouri for the Post-Dispatch – to contribute to the PAC’s blog. The journalists are told they’ll get $250 “for bylined, or no byline if preferred, articles ranging from 500 to 700 words in length with the opportunity to earn more for special on-site projects.”
Grow Missouri representative Molly Berry adds in her email:
The scope of the project would be 2-3 articles per month, on-going, with a focus on tax reform, political news, family life in Missouri, and Grow Missouri’s “Create a Great State” initiative. It’s also worth noting that although this is a political client, we’re not aiming to create politically charged content.
Stuckey told Berry in an email: “I appreciate your compliments toward my work, however, I cover Grow Missouri and Rex Sinquefield for my job. Writing public relations pieces in the form of blogs for Grow Missouri would be incredibly unethical – especially if I wrote them anonymously.” Rosenbaum tells me he didn’t respond to the solicitation.
I’ve left a message for Berry.
Update – Berry’s employer says: “In an oversight, five of the writers that we contacted [to write blog posts] were news reporters that may cover Missouri politics. Going forward, we have amended our recruitment process for advocacy organizations to ensure we do not reach out to prospective writers who may be covering our clients’ work.”
Update 2 – “This particular offer had the rankest odor of anything I have encountered in my professional career,” writes Columbia Daily Tribune’s Rudi Keller.
* Boston PR firm solicits political journalists to blog for conservative PAC (columbiatribune.com)
* Grow Missouri’s email to Post-Dispatch reporter Alex Stuckey (@alexstuckey)
* From 2010: Billionaire Rex Sinquefield knows best (stlmag.com)
* Who is behind the Grow Missouri movement? (dailykos.com)
Grow Missouri’s email to Stuckey is after the jump. Read More