In 2009, Mike Albo was famously let go from his travel-column gig at The New York Times after it came out that he’d gone on a free trip to Jamaica.
In his new book, The Junket, Albo changes some of the names but sticks to his story of what it was like to be demonized, mocked, and sent on a free trip to unemployment.
Here’s a tantalizing free sample (yeah, it’s literary swag, basically):
Albo says he was chastised for accepting promo items from H&M, a sponsor of the trip, but “H&M’s representation on the trip was a plastic water bottle in the gift bag. I left it in the hotel room because I already have several promotional water bottles back home.
“I was getting confused about how pristine I needed to be to write for The Paper. It appeared that if you wanted to be a freelancer there, you couldn’t attend anything where you received something promotional, ever.”
As Albo concludes:
“I was punished because I was caught. The news monolith needed to cut its losses with me because if it didn’t, more would have to come out. I was perilously close to exposing a secret underground economy of promotion — favors and junkets and banquets and gifts that keeps the city in motion, and keeps underpaid writers at work.
“Basically, I became the Silkwood of Swag.”
Rather than hose him down, why not just buy his book?