Ken Spencer Brown, a columnist for Investor’s Business Daily, points out that most of the reporters who were spied upon by Hewlett Packard have stopped writing about the company and are covering different beats. He suggests it might be out of a concern that personal grudges might taint coverage of the Palo Alto company. Brown says that CNET News.com’s Dawn Kawamoto and Tom Krazit wrote a few stories as the scandal broke, but soon their colleagues took over the story. One of the CNET replacement reporters, Stephen Shankland, wrote stories about HP until it emerged that he too had been targeted by the HP private investigators. Wing Tam and George Anders of the Wall Street Journal haven’t written about HP since the scandal broke. Neither has John Markoff of the New York Times, although he was credited for helping in the reporting process for a Sept. 22 story. At BusinessWeek, only Peter Burrows has written about the scandal, but a tag line at the bottom of his story mentions that he was a target of the company. The other two BusinessWeek reporters who were spied upon by HP, Ben Elgin and Roger Crockett, haven’t written about HP since the scandal began.

Brown quotes Brian Johnson, a public relations consultant, who says some journalists might not be too upset over the incident. “Imagine what’s going through the reporter’s mind,” Johnson said. ” ‘Gosh! My work is so important, HP and its executives are willing to risk their reputation to find my sources and methods.’ That’s very flattering indeed.”

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