DIARY: Gnash under attack in Ledbetter's tale of Industry Standard's demise

James Ledbetter's account of the rise and fall of tech magazine The Industry Standard will not make happy reading for PROs who crossed paths with the ill-fated title's former European editor.

In Starving to Death on $200m - The Short, Absurd Life of the Industry Standard, Ledbetter is scathing about everything PR-related, right down to the magazine's own PR advisers.

He writes: 'Five to ten per cent of the PR people I've worked with have behaved decently and I don't mind calling them friends. Unfortunately, the incidents that stick in my head involve the other 90 per cent.'

New York tech firms come in for a lashing. One employed a consultant who flatly denied a story to Ledbetter that was confirmed as true in The Wall Street Journal the next day. Another is accused of building Chinese walls too flimsy to withstand even a basic enquiry from a Standard reporter about another agency client.

In London, the now defunct Gnash Communications bears the brunt of his attack. After being promised at their first meeting that Gnash considered such conflicts of interest 'unprofessional', he was incensed to discover that an Industry Standard story critical of another Gnash client, lastminute.com, went unpublicised for exactly the same reason.

'I was livid,' Ledbetter writes. 'Gnash's founder Narda Shirley apologised to me... calling the incident a "total fuck-up."'

It may have been, but this book is not. A must read.

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