Winnipeg media swells to 250 for freebies

Nov. 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Canadian journalism ethics experts are critical of the 250 people who attended an Ikea media night and accepted gifts in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Swedish retailer is opening a new store and hosted a media night Monday with champagne, beer, snacks and live music, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The store also gave each attendee a gift bag full of small Ikea products and a one-night 15 percent shopping discount.

Nick Russell, a former journalism professor and author of a book on Canadian media ethics, said everyone who attended violated the ethical code of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

He also questioned the number of people who attended from a city of 684,000 people.

"I can't imagine how 250 people can claim to be media people in Winnipeg," he said. "There may be 50, there might be 100, but 250? That's a very imaginative bunch of people who are suddenly journalists."

Red River College journalism instructor Duncan McMonagle agreed.

"If you're dumb enough to go to Ikea and take a freebie from them and then go and pretend that you're reporting on them in a disinterested way, you're not that smart," he told the CBC.

Ikea spokeswoman Maegan Sheskey declined to answer questions about the discount or how many people took advantage of it.

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