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ICYMI: Deloitte Pays the Wall Street Journal to Blog, or Something

Who knew?! I have to admit that I wasn't really paying attention, but then again, I don't really cruise the WSJ's paywalled C-suite pages that are impervious to the Google-search-the headline-for-total-access trick.

But yes! Deloitte has had an exclusive deal to "sponsor a regular stream of content" at CFO Journal and CIO Journal, for some time and it's all right on the front page, plain as day, and you don't even have to worry about the paywall! 

We only bring it up now because we noticed this post from Francine McKenna about the new arrangement between Deloitte and the Journal, that was mentioned in the announcement of the new Risk & Compliance Journal:

Deloitte LLP has an exclusive arrangement to provide a sponsored stream of content written and compiled by Deloitte LLP, including topical digests, research, insight, and analyses, covering the growing number of risk challenges C-suite executives and board members must manage. 

“We look forward to this opportunity to contribute to the discussion on the many risk challenges executives and boards wrestle with in today’s environment—from how to incorporate risk into corporate strategy to managing risk for both value creation and protection,” said Henry Ristuccia, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and Global Leader, Governance, Risk and Compliance Services, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Deloitte LLP also has a similar exclusive arrangement to sponsor a regular stream of content for CIO Journal, which launched in 2012, and CFO Journal, which launched in 2011.

The Wall Street Journal news department is not involved in the creation of the content stream sponsored by Deloitte LLP.

This situation, of course, leads to all kinds of discussions about publications accepting money from the companies they cover. Here's Francine:

The Wall Street Journal has a full time accountancy reporter, a very good one, in Michael Rapoport who’s had to write about Deloitte often. But Dow Jones, like Thomson Reuters, also has a software and services arm for “governance, risk, and compliance” tools for corporations and Deloitte is very active in providing GRC services, most recently to JPMorgan in the OCC/Fed foreclosure review situation. So that’s the rationale, I’m sure, for the business alliance. 

Yep! That's probably it. But really, the chance that Dow Jones will ring up Rapoport and say "Take it easy on those guys. They give us a lot of money," is somewhere between slim and none. Deloitte doesn't care what Rapoport writes insofar that they will turn down a good opportunity to drum up new business. I mean, just read this stuff from Deloitte CIO Larry Quinaln:

At Deloitte, we have a five-pronged approach for taking advantage of mobile. The first prong is hardware: You can’t be mobile without devices. Companies take various approaches to provisioning, from “everyone will get the same device, and they’re going to like it” to “bring your own device, whatever it is, secure or unsecure.” We opted for a compromise. Once a mobile device passes our security testing, we offer it as an option to employees.
The second prong is device management. While we haven’t adopted a single, heavy mobile device management application, we manage devices carefully. We closely track them on the network. We ensure compliance with necessary updates and patches, and we tightly link each device to its owner and track hardware and usage costs.
OHHHHHH. A five-pronged approach. That's something, isn't it?
Lord. And it goes on from there. Dreadful to read, quite honestly. But some CIO is out there thinking, "Hmm. This Quinlan fella sure sounds like he knows his stuff. Maybe we should start talking to Deloitte." That's precisely what Deloitte wants! Same with CFOJ (10 Challenges and Opportunities for Property and Casualty Executives! — BARF). The same will be with R&CJ. They want to get their wares in front of people who need it and the WSJ has the audience. It's not a complicated business1. Frankly, I'd be insulted if the weren't partnering together. And no one on the WSJ news desk is going to get a chill just because Deloitte throws money at Dow Jones.

But despite all that, journalism purists don't like the way it looks. It's kinda like the auditor's independence dilemma. HOW CAN YOU BE INDEPENDENT FROM THE PEOPLE THAT GIVE YOU MONEY? Jesus, I don't know. Let the government take over? OR maybe we'll make enough money from Adsense?

Deloitte can publish whatever they want over at CFOJ, CIOJ or wherever. It's clearly marked so I and everyone with a shred awareness knows it's corporate propaganda. And if they don't, it's not a big deal. The content is crap. If you read it, you deserve to lose that three minutes of your life.

[Dow Jones via Francine McKenna]

1 It's so easy a second-rate accounting blog can do it! Yes, we've published sponsored content here in the past. We may publish it in the future. The publishing people run this laugh factory. If you don't like it, talk to them. And if you do like it, talk to them!