"Dan Abrams, the chief legal correspondent for NBC News who recently lost his prime-time cable news show, is forming a consulting firm that he hopes will connect a global Rolodex of media experts with businesses that need strategic advice," reports Brian Stelter. "The firm, Abrams Research, may resemble a narrowly focused version of 'expert network' firms that connect investors to industry experts. Journalists and bloggers retained and paid by the firm could consult with corporations, conduct media training sessions, or conduct investigative reporting for corporate clients." Abrams Research says it has also "established strategic partnerships with major PR and media strategy firms" including Dan Klores Communications and the Abernathy MacGregor Group. As Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal points out, "This is about as clear a violation of our conflict of interest rules as I can imagine. Journalists shouldn't be advising companies about how to game their own organization." Similar concerns have been expressed by journalists at CBS News and others. However, NBC seems to think that Abrams can continue to work as both a professional flack and as one of their journalists. "NBC News could not have been more accommodating throughout this process," he told TVNewser, adding that he would be "staying on as the Chief Legal Analyst for NBC News and hope to remain with NBC for many years to come."If you check the comments there, you'll notice that Dan Abrams was not pleased by this posting and wanted CMD to correct the "errors" they'd reported. A somewhat heated exchange then ensues between Abrams and CMD's Sheldon Rampton. As I observed in the comments over there, I find it somewhat troubling that one of the former higher ups at a major news network doesn't see anything wrong with creating a revolving door between journalism and corporate public relations, nor with farming out journalists to corporate customers.
For more on why this is a problem, see The Elements of Journalism (which I consider essential reading for every citizen.)