Ghost writing

Ghost writing is, unfortunately a common practice in PR. It goes against the ethos of social media, and I personally believe it to be unethical, but unfortunately, it still happens a lot. PR people write blog posts, news articles and who knows what else on behalf of clients. But research articles????!!! Published in medical journals???!!!

Check out this story on my husband’s blog.

What do you think about ghost writing? Is it ethical? Acceptable? It depends? On what? What should I teach my students about it?

4 thoughts on “Ghost writing”

  1. Let me stick to blogs for the purpose of this post. I read a passage from Geoff Livingston/Brian Solis’s book Now is Gone where Shel Israel said that ghost writing blogs can be an acceptable practice if there’s transparency. So for example, if you’d like your CEO to blog, and he/she wants to do so, but doesn’t have the time, then the CEO may offer input on the post, a staff member writes it, and the CEO simply admits to the practice by stating that a writer does take the CEOs thoughts to draft the post. The CEO takes full responsibility for the content and pledges to read all the comments. I think it’s a perfectly acceptable solution for everyone. Much better than no blog at all!

    FYI, found your blog through PROpenMic by the way!

  2. Good question, Mihaela. I’ve often written ‘guest bylines’ for clients regarding a trend topic in their field. They provide the background information, the opinions and the expertise, and they hire me to wordsmith it for them. And they review all content for accuracy before it publishes.

    I’ve never thought this unethical, rather, no different from hiring a copy writer or a biographer to help you capture a story you might not say so eloquently.

    And what about PR people who manufacture quotes for executives (who ultimately approve the ‘words’ that came out of their mouth).

    I’m somewhat of a hypocrite because I do not believe in ghost blogging. But for some reason, helping clients write bylined articles or press releases is part of my expertise.

    I’d love to hear some others insight, though. Am I way off base?

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