Trine Tsouderos Becomes Pharma PR Agent After Chicago Tribune Editor Lectures to PR Firms on “Strengthening Relationships
Posted Oct 01 2012 12:00am
By Jake Crosby
I’m not just calling
Trine Tsouderos a pharma PR agent because of her series of articles filled with
pharmaceutical industry talking points. The former cupcake
correspondent is now the healthcare media director at the PR firm GolinHarris , whose healthcare clients
include Merck’s HPV vaccine as well as GlaxoSmithKline. In principle,
she may be changing careers, but in practice she’s doing what she has done for
more than three years – pandering to the pharmaceutical industry. She’s just
gone from a de facto PR agent for pharma to a de jure PR agent for pharma. Not
surprisingly, GolinHarris milked her joining the agency – mentioning the award
Chicago Tribune bought with CDC’s help back in 2010.
According to her new boss:
“Trine’s experience as a journalist will immediately
benefit our clients and our teams,”
hiring of Tsouderos comes one year after Michael Lev, Associate Managing Editor
for Business at the Chicago Tribune, gave a panel discussion for the Public
Relations Society of America . The title of the event was “Strengthening
Relationships with the Media.” The panel discussion took place at the offices
of GolinHarris, Tsouderos’ new employer, where Michael Lev was helping blur the
lines between journalism and public relations.
journalist teaching PR firms how to strengthen their relations with media is a
journalist who has completely sold out his profession. That is exactly what
Michael Lev has done and what Trine Tsouderos is now doing. Ironically,
Tsouderos’ husband Jon Yates remains employed by the Chicago Tribune as the
newspaper’s self-help guru, authoring his widely read “What’s your problem?”
column for the newspaper’s business section, edited
by none other than Michael Lev.
In 2008, the year before Trine
Tsouderos began attacking doctors who practice alternative treatments for
autism, exploiting a divorce between autism parents and portraying Age of Autism editors Kim
Stagliano and Kent
Heckenlively as reckless parents for helping their children, Michael Lev
was on a six-member panel judging for the Gerald Loeb Awards – a prestigious
contest run by UCLA’s Anderson School of Business to honor the best in finance
and business journalism. Sitting with Lev on the panel was Amy
Wallace , who wrote a cover story for Wired Magazine the following year
praising millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul
Offit . A finalist in the contest was the Chicago Tribune's very own
Patricia Callahan, who would later be Tsouderos' partner in their hit-piece
journalism. All three of the reporters Tsouderos collaborated with to do her
smearing – Timothy Jones, Steve Mills and Patricia Callahan – have worked with
Michael Lev on previous stories.
Even worse, Trine Tsouderos is now employed
at GolinHarris, the very PR firm where Michael Lev lectured one year prior on
how PR firms can strengthen media relations. I guess that’s the second career
Trine Tsouderos can thank Lev for.
Not everyone was pleased with
Tsouderos’ departure, however, especially the vaccine industry’s media
Mnookin , who lamented on Twitter:
@ChicagoScience [Trine Tsouderos] leaving Trib for PR.
truly one of the most fearless reporters I've met. Horrible loss.
She is fearless all right -
fearless about selling her journalistic integrity for a lucrative career as a
PR agent for pharma. Then again, that’s what she’s been for more than three
years. Only now Tsouderos has the potential to strengthen pharma’s PR
relationships with all media, not just the Trib. I’m surprised Seth Mnookin is
not celebrating. It seems only yesterday Trine Tsouderos, Amy
Wallace and Seth
Mnookin were all at AutismOne 2009 plotting their respective attacks. Are
Seth Mnookin or Amy Wallace next on the PR hiring list?
Crosby has Asperger Syndrome and is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. He
is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a BA in both History and Health:
Science, Society and Policy. He currently attends The George Washington
University School of Public Health and Health Services where he is studying for
an MPH in epidemiology.