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    Its never good when the story is about the journalist/ism behind the story. But that said, its good to post a statement and disclaimer, and its good to remind us what the background is to who funds/supports what you’re doing.

    I’d have been interested if there had been a non government, non research or non NGO element. Why couldn’t the welcome trust fund this kind of public health discussion? Or, even pfizer? Would they even know how to do an arms-length model which didn’t compromise their own PR, or you?

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    There are few of us today who do not have conflicting interests – the key is making them transparent which Melissa has done. Knowing the sponsors is key. If Croakey was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company I think the web site would collapse with protest. Surely with any sponsor consideration must be given not so much as to how they influence the receiver of the gift ( Croakey); that can be controlled relatively easily. What Croakey cannot control is how the pharmaceutical company ( or any other organisation) uses the fact that they support Croakey-that could do great damage. An advert from a pharmaceutical company- “we support Croakey: may get them browny points- people may think they welcome scrutiny which we know is not always the case. The 7 sponsors listed could not derive such benefits. Go Crikey! Go Melissa!

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    I’d rather have a PHAA-sponsored Croakey than no Croakey at all, but it does colour perception of the content.

    Where does the PHAA get its money from? The website doesn’t appear to offer any up-front information about its funding, which is troubling in itself. I haven’t delved deeply into the site, but the vagueness of its descriptions seems evasive.

    I’ve got absolutely no reason to believe Croakey is anything but impartial – currently. These things have a way of changing suddenly and using a history of disinterest as a cover. Exhibit one: the ABC, which is now stacked to the rafters with right-wing ideologues and runs Liberal Party commentary as supposedly objective news, but is protected from criticism for it because of a confected reputation as a left-leaning broadcaster.

    Not looking forward to the day when Croakey begins hawking for medical corporations and using its solid record to hide it. Keep up the good work until then.

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    Melissa Sweet

    Melissa Sweet

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment. Just a few quick responses:

    • To GGM: in fact NGOs are increasingly supporting journalism in one form or another, and I will soon be putting up a post that points to some of these recent developments, most esp in the US.

    • To Merrilyn: Just to reassure you, I have no intention of seeking or taking pharma funding. Same goes for any of the anti-health corporate interests, eg alcohol, tobacco, big food etc.

    • To Sancho: It’s not strictly accurate to describe Croakey as PHAA-sponsored. What I didn’t spell out in the post is that the funding ($1,000 per month) probably accounts for only about one-quarter of the time I spend on the blog, if I was being paid at traditional journalism rates. So I am probably the major individual sponsor of the site, if you want to look at it that way. This is not unusual for blogs, I appreciate that many bloggers do not get paid at all. Just to reassure you as well, I have no intention of hawking for medical corporations as sponsors. But I would challenge your assertion that Croakey is “impartial”. As I try to spell out in the “about Croakey section”, this blog is coming very much from a public health perspective, and with a particular focus on under-served groups and issues. But that doesn’t mean it is about pushing a line – its entire rationale is about promoting a vigorous and informed debate about health.

    I am happy to chat more on these issues, if anyone else cares to comment.


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