ABC editor who published press release as article: ‘I still can’t see what’s wrong with it’

abc amaysim postAn ABC editor has defended the publication of  a press release from mobile phone brand Amaysim on the organisation’s website as an article, saying “it was a bad press release but made for an interesting blog”.

Nick Ross, technology and games editor at the ABC, took to Twitter and the comment thread of Mumbrella to defend the piece which was posted on Friday afternoon and deleted after its similarities to the press release were pointed out on Twitter.

The article was bylined to Gerard Mansour. The ABC article did not reveal that Mansour is the PR manager of Amysim Australia.

abc wtf lol

The deleted ABC posting (Click to enlarge)

The ABC piece – about a survey into the use of acronyms carried out by Amaysim – included a prominent mention for Amaysim in the third paragraph. Two changes were made to the release – a reference to “Amaysim being a “low-cost mobile service provider” was removed from that paragreaph. And the final paragraph, quoting Mansour himself, was deleted.

Prior to joining the ABC in 2010, Ross was CEO and publisher at Sproog Media which published The Overclocker and Burlesque magazine. He also held editorial roles at Haymarket Publishing and Dennis Publishing.

Ross argued that there was nothing wrong with publishing the piece. Writing on the Mumbrella comment thread, he said that the item had been removed because he had “smelled the pitchforks”.

amaysim press release

The original Amaysim press release (click to enlarge)

Mumbrella initially wrote about the similarities in the Dr Mumbo diary column after they were flagged up on Twitter by Tim Lince. Ross wrote:

“Thanks for giving me the chance to respond. Oh wait, you didn’t.

“Anyhow, as I said when it was first brought to my attention that the Bio (which we usually run was missing) I added it on there within 10mins of publication.

“Personally, I thought it was a bad press release but made for an interesting blog. It’s not like it advertises a product in any way.

“I actually like having people who work in the industry talk about their segment of the tech industry because they are usually experts and can make interesting points. Any notion that a blog shouldn’t be written or published by anyone with a vested interest is silly.

“I’d be interested what your audience, of all people, thinks about companies being given op eds by media.

“Nonetheless, in this case I’ve smelled the pitchforks and pulled it.


Ross also joined in debates on Twitter, arguing that he had “seen journos write worse”.

nick ross twitter journos

He later added: “I still don’t see what’s wrong with it.”

nick ross dont see

And “I have no intention of playing journo ethics games.”

nick ross journo ethics tweet

The ABC has been invited to comment.


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