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What You Should Know / September 19, 2011

www.cjr.org -- Running the Jerusalem bureau for The New York Times is a tough job in a hypersensitive area, one that attracts more than its share of slings and arrows. So maybe it is best not to hand out extra arrows, as Ethan Bronner seems to have done. In 2009, Bronner, who has run the bureau since March 2008, joined the speakers bureau of one of Israel’s top public relations firms, Lone Star Communications. Lone Star arranges speaking dates for Bronner and takes 10 to 15 percent of his fee. At the same time, Lone Star pitches Bronner stories. Bronner says his speaking relationship with Lone Star is minimal, non-exclusive, and “not a very active one”—some half a dozen speeches out of seventy-five or so he’s given over the last three and a half years to nonprofit groups. His speaking fees, he says, are low, and “My public speaking reflects my newspaper writing—it is reportorial, analytical, and non-adversarial—and fully in keeping with New York Times ethical guidelines,” Bronner wrote in a response to interview questions. The Times backs him up. To Bronner’s responses,“We would add only that his speaking appearances for nonprofit groups all conform to Times ethics guidelines, and that we have complete confidence in his professionalism and impartiality,” Eileen Murphy, the Times’s vice president of corporate communications, wrote in an e-mail.

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