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Hi Bob, Thanks for writing a thoughtful and provocative post. I felt it would be only right to reply here. First off, you rightly point out that many other journalists have jumped over to what was always called in the newsroom the "dark side." There's no journalism class -- that I know of -- that explicitly speaks of PR as the enemy, but anyone who has worked in a newsroom has probably heard that very sentiment spoken countless times. I don't think of PR as the enemy. I have even done PR. Two of my former editors and mentors now work in PR. But what fascinated me about working for Eloqua was that they were trying to carve out a new niche. I work for the company and part of that entails promotional duties. Yet, it's a job that allows me, requires me, to do what I love most about journalism: meeting different people and learning about their careers, the problems they face, the solutions they come up with. With that in mind, let me take a crack at these hypothetical scenarios you describe. 1. Can I write the story that promotes a competitor? Good question. In a way, I would argue the forum that raises an issue than the position. That is, I think writing about competitors on our blog opens up an ethical dilemma I am not eager to wander into. It's not that praising a competitor is so bad. But what if I found out some negative info on a competitor? Should I publish that too? There are ethical, and legal, issues here. So I won't say no for certain, but I doubt there will be much info about competitors that is either positive or negative coming from me. 2. Who is going to shake the chiefs lose? I'm happy to say I don't think this will be much of an obstacle. One thing that was clear before I came on board was how much Eloqua's executive team supported the move. They understand the need for this position and that making my job easier will ultimately serve their goals of growing the company. 3. How brutally honest should I be? I firmly believe I have the backing of the marketing department, especially as they are the people who hired me. I'm not saying I'll never raises eyebrows internally, but one thing I am certain of: I can absolutely present my case and know that it will be treated with respect. Marketing knows this is new and uncharted territory, and they are sensitive to it. (As an example, my boss encouraged me to respond honestly on your blog.) The last thing I want to say is that I'm not sure we can completely address the questions you raise here perfectly at this point. The job is so new that we are still figuring it out ourselves. Eloqua knew it had to act and so it jumped into the space. As we move forward, your questions will be answered...and even more will be raised. I hope this helps in some way. I promise to be less long-winded in the future. Jesse Noyes
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Nov 9, 2010