If not now, when?
Want good press? Hire a journalist. That's Dan Abrams's pitch.
The former general manager of MSNBC is launching a media-strategy firm, Abrams Research, to help business executives navigate public-relations challenges -- from major acquisitions to bothersome bloggers to outright scandals.
The firm's chief selling point will be a network of media insiders whose advice is available in exchange for an hourly fee. Mr. Abrams has assembled a roster of "thousands" of such professionals, he says, with the aid of former Huffington Post media writer Rachel Sklar. The firm has already signed its first client: billionaire investor Ronald Perelman.
The Journal says that Abrams "plans to continue working as an outside legal analyst for NBC News."
The New York Times describes Abrams Research as "a consulting firm that...will connect a global Rolodex of media experts with businesses that need strategic advice." The Times also reports that Abrams will closely police potential conflicts of interest as journalists bridge the press/consultant divide:
Working on media strategies with businesses could raise ethical red flags for journalists who were required to be detached and objective about the subjects they covered. Mr. Abrams said the company would "bend over backwards to make sure that there are no conflicts or ethical issues that arise."
He said he planned to broaden the network of experts beyond traditional journalists, employing media analysts, bloggers and others who might not operate under such stringent rules. He said he was especially interested in connecting bloggers with businesses that had trouble dealing with online media.
The firm's website, AbramsResearch.com, describes the company accordingly:
Abrams Research is a media strategy firm that connects business leaders with a global community of media professionals. Our proprietary data networks and global contacts allow us to target strategically selected media insiders to offer insights, data and personnel never before available to businesses for image enhancement, branding, investigative reporting and the execution of the best media plan.