Trine Tsouderos Becomes Pharma PR Agent After Chicago Tribune Editor Lectures to PR Firms on “Strengthening Relationships with the Media"
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,”
The 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.
A 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.
Lev’s effusive praise of Tsouderos’ husband included calling him a “‘Man of Steel’ when it comes to tracking down people who have wronged one of his readers.”
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 marionette Seth 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?
Jake 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.
The most popular girl in the school?
Posted by: Heather | October 04, 2012 at 05:49 AM
RIP, journalistic ethics. Depending on the source, either 3 or 6 corporations control all the news outlets in the U.S. Journalists have to find some way to plan for retirement in this iffy economy. Selling Out - it's the new way to plan for the future.
Posted by: Susan Ford Keller | October 03, 2012 at 09:22 PM
After one of Tsouderos’ hit pieces, I had an e-mail exchange with her. I asked if she's so concerned about safety, why hasn't she alerted the public to the grave risks of mainstream pharmaceutical treatments for autism. I cited the NY Times report of Risperdal's 31 deaths of children and the drug's many adverse effects including diabetes, weight gain, facial tics and breast growth in boys. I described young boys who had undergone mastectomies after Risperdal use and I asked her why she's devoted so much attention to criticizing alternative treatments when children are clearly in far greater peril with current FDA-approved treatments whose serious side effects are unknown to most parents.
An excerpt from Tsouderos' response to me:
"You ask about Risperdal, and why didn’t we focus on that? I can only say that I don’t know whether it is a helpful and safe thing or not because I haven’t looked into it. Maybe it’s a story for a later time."
That story for a later time never happened. Tsouderos had no curiosity about dozens of children’s deaths due to Risperdal (Risperidone) - only about the supposed risks of OSR, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and other treatments that have made dramatic differences in the lives of people with autism. In her new job, Tsouderos will no doubt continue to use her media pull to discourage autism parents from using treatments that actually heal and sometimes recover children with autism, without the life-threatening risks of FDA-approved autism treatments (none of which have recovered a single child, but have killed and permanently injured many).
Her job is (and was) to protect pharma's revenues.
Seth Mnookin should be cringing in embarrassment - not tweeting as if there's nothing untoward about Tsouderos’ career move. Of course, nearly everything Mnookin does and says is cringe-worthy.
Tsouderos' sweet, innocent-looking face in the photo makes me realize how very deceiving appearances are.
God help the children. That's all I can say. Because the media sold them out long, long ago.
Posted by: Trine Tsouderos' disinterest in Risperdal | October 03, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Tribune is poisoned. Full page color ads in LA Times for Zostavax, every day, leading up to passage of AB2109 last week, and nary a peep from the Times about it. The same thing happened last year during debate and passage of AB 499 allowing for HPV vaccine with no parental permission or notification -- full page color ads for Gardasil every day, no stories about AB499 at all. Tribune is in bankruptcy and ad revenue trumps the public interest. Families have been sold out by their elected representatives, who collected pharma $ for their campaigns, and the media sticks its collective head in the sand. It's outrageous!
Posted by: Garbo | October 03, 2012 at 05:38 PM
who is she related to
Posted by: Billie | October 03, 2012 at 01:08 PM
The Lifestyle sections of newspapers are product placements. Her whole career is PR.
Posted by: Carol | October 03, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Presstitute!!!! Love it!! Jake saying it like it is, as usual! Thank you!
Posted by: casey | October 03, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Who cares what these presstitutes say. The corporate media have lost all credibility. They are only the rotten arm supporting criminal elites, people know that. Nobody with healthy mind listens to them.
Posted by: no-vac | October 03, 2012 at 11:01 AM
Jake: Have you considered a career as a sociologist of the media? You would be (indeed you are) damned good at it.
Posted by: JerseyGuy | October 03, 2012 at 10:42 AM
I don't know how much better media relations could get. Currently, news outlets are devoted to promoting, without question, the interests of pharma.
Advertising dollars have bought the media.
Anne Dachel, Media
Posted by: Anne McElroy Dachel | October 03, 2012 at 10:42 AM
How on earth are you able to track all these snakes to their collective dens.
Posted by: Benedetta | October 03, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Bill O'Reilly says he is not the news but a commentary -- opinion piece on the news.
Which gets confusing sometimes.
But then you think about it -- ever hard hitting news piece is slanted in someway by the reporters.
I know that Fox news leans heavy on the right - I know that.
But I also know that before Fox came along the other news stations leaned very heavy to the left and what bothered me the most about it all was --- I don't think a lot of people realized that???
But I pray and bless each and ever show or reporter or talk show host that has addressed this problem...
Posted by: Benedetta | October 03, 2012 at 10:06 AM
It really is not surprising considering people that work at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS that includes the NIH, CDC and FDA)come and go from the pharmaceutical firms and HHS. Also, various Presidents like Jimmy Carter who hawked the virtues of Merck and politicians from both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans alike get donations from the pharmaceutical industry. Don't forget most of the media outlets in the US get funding from the pharmaceutical industry by hawking their advertisements too. So if media outlets are hawking the advertisements why would it be surprising that a "former cupcake correspondent" like Ms. Tsouderos would be a pharma PR agent? You will probably see a lot more of that since there is big money involved in working in that industry. There are billions of dollars that are thrown around in the pharma industry, Billions with a capital B.
Posted by: Raymond Gallup | October 03, 2012 at 09:28 AM
A sad life lesson. People will do almost anything for money, power and position. A young scientist, working on autism , may seem brilliant , will disappear into the clutches of pharma. This went on for years with Monsanto, they would "head hunt" to get the "good ones" on their side, then spoon feed them lies while dangling that carrot of salary with bonus package, for incentive to "join in". Do we really believe independent testing has proven gm corn safe? Well yeah, as with the vaccines, if you skew the testing enough you can get any result you can afford. I watched BillO'Reilly, an icon of Fox, being asked "what would you do if you were bound to produce only hard news", he said, he's in it for the "action" and admitted, it's a business and it's all entertainment after five. I know people who think it's the "truth without spin" and are addicted. So ,while this young woman is a disappointment, an example perhaps of selling one's soul, it's the way business is handled today, and a great lesson for those that believe in integrity, integrity is a dying ,perhaps dead, archaic , moral value that seldom will make one "rich". Accomplishments are measured today in "dollars".
Posted by: barbara j | October 03, 2012 at 09:03 AM
Hopefully Trine has gotten better at speaking (versus writing). She was with her best friend Paul O at a speaking engagement and essentially said the following
Before I went to college I wanted to be a journalist or a doctor. I became a journalist and began writing about science. (and you should listen to me because I wanted to be a doctor) I don't have to be nonbiased because "the science has spoken" it is settled.
She then proceeded to attack anyone and everyone (especially journalists and Andrew Wakefield) with her PO garbage. Many of their conferences are bought and they have PR people there to see if they are changing any one's minds. She has been doing this for at least 2 years with Paul. Paul has his little circle of idiots or people with a past because they are either easily gullible or perferctly comfortable distorting truths.
Posted by: prozac is in the water all over the country | October 03, 2012 at 07:06 AM