1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

The gift bag

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by OceanLottery, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. OceanLottery

    OceanLottery Member

    Bit of a fringe journalism topic, more of an ethics thing, but here goes...

    I'm at an apparel company event a few nights that mixes athletes and celebs and they're handing out gift bags for media that includes some really nice stuff; sneakers, sweatshirts, DVDs, etc.

    I don't take one of the bags. I'm not usually all high and mighty, but I'm there to talk to the athletes, not do a story on the company (or the celebs) and accept a gift from them. Feels a little slimy to me.

    So I talk to who I need to talk to and then BS with some other journos (sports folk, not the gossip writers) as I'm making my way out and notice that they've all taken the gift bags (I won't name names, but some of these guys work for big outlets and they'd be considered fairly well known in the profession).

    My question is, who's wrong here: Me for not accepting the gift or the others for taking it. I felt like if I took the bag and then mentioned the company in the story it would be like payment. Do I need to get over myself and just take the damned gift bag next time? Or was saying "thanks, but no thanks" the right approach?
  2. Mystery Meat II

    Mystery Meat II Well-Known Member

    I don't think anyone is wrong, per se. If you don't feel comfortable taking the bag, that's within your rights and you shouldn't feel bad about it. If the other writers don't draw that distinction, you might disagree with them but they're not doing anything explicitly wrong by taking bags provided to them. If that affects their ability to cover the event fairly, the problem runs deeper than the bag itself and goes into their internal makeup.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I've never been as black and white on this as some, but if there are shoes and sweatshirts, that value is probably getting a little high to remain in my comfort zone.
  4. This. Although I probably would have left it behind, too.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I'm with SF
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Go to Google events. Those gift bags are great.
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to remember, and might not be correct, but I think the gift I accepted with the most monetary value was a Ryder Cup golf umbrella in 1999. Still have it, too. I didn't feel any ethical dilemma, but then, I didn't know how much umbrellas cost, either.
  8. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    I think it's always a safe move not to take free stuff when you're working, so I'd have done what you did.

    The standard we have at my place is that we don't take anything unless it's made available to the general public. If anyone could have walked in off the street and taken a gift bag, then it's OK to take it. If it was an invitation-only event, you don't take it.
  9. Raiders

    Raiders Guest

    OL, it would be more fun if you named the names.

    And, on a side note, I'm tired of seeing Berman and Mayne and all the other WWE slugs shilling for ad money all over the TV screen. If you wanna move on and be a pitchman, give up the sports chair.
  10. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    Jesus, here we go.

    Did you eat the food?
  11. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    The better default position is almost always "don't take the stuff." I admit, I'm hardly pristine. I've liberated plenty of notebooks and bowl game tote bags and press box hot dogs.

    On the other hand, how would you feel if it became publicly known that you took the stuff? Not just among your bosses or your fellow scribes, but the public at large. I don't think anyone blinks twice if you had a cup of coffee and a danish at a news conference, but sneakers?

    There's a famous saying that your ethics are what you do when no one is looking, but public opinion is a pretty useful yardstick, too. If it would make you uncomfortable having people know what you walked away with, it's probably the wrong thing to do.
  12. They sure are. And you should try Google's search engine too! It's Google-rific!
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page