Dan Abrams seems to be having problems with the PR for his new PR agency. Last week the former MSNBC executive told us — and the Times and the Journal — that he was starting an organization where "working" journalists would consult on PR strategies for companies. When we and others questioned whether that would be something that was ethical for "working journalists" to do, Abrams got offended and told the Observer that, really, contrary to what he told the papers and what his Website said about hiring "top financial journalists" to advise "Fortune 500 companies" he was actually just trying to get former journalists back on their feet. "There’s something a little bit offensive to me — as all these media organizations are cutting back so significantly on personnel — that people are out there saying, ‘Well, Dan Abrams shouldn’t be trying to help them find any work,’” said Abrams. “You know, give them a break.”
So really we're like Christopher Hitchens to his Mother Teresa. Except, wait, not at all. Because that is so not what happened. The thing that people were reacting to was the fact that he said he would be giving working journalists side jobs as PR people.
Anyway, also, former Times "Sunday Business" editor Judy Dobrzynski is apparently displeased with him for telling us (when we gave him a chance to defend the business plan) that as a board member of his new PR firm, Abrams Research, she would "offer up advice on the financial media" to paying companies.
"While I agreed to be on his Advisory Board, I most certainly will not do what Dan described using my name," Dobrzynski wrote us this week.
She added that her role would be more in the way of "suggesting journalists who recently left the profession to do what he described … would-be novelists, bloggers, corporate writers" and other people who wouldn't have ethical problems with joining a PR firm. Dobrzynski added that she'd had words with Abrams about this and indicated that some kind of mea culpa from him to us was imminent. But maybe he didn't trust his own communication skills anymore, because soon enough a lengthy, bubbly e-mail from his partner, former Huffington Post blogger Rachel Sklar, arrived in our inbox, which read in part:
"Can we add an asterisk by Judy's name with the following clarification at the bottom: "Though she is a board member, Dobrzysnki would be precluded from participating in certain projects, and would have to evaluate any prospective consulting work on a case-by-case basis — as will any Abrams Research expert."
This was followed by another e-mail belatedly declaring the previous one off the record.
So, anyway. here's "our" clarification. Best of luck with your new endeavor!
UPDATE: An earlier version of this post has been edited to correct minor factual errors.