The NYT Magazine’s bedfellows

Pages 69 to 80 of this weekend’s New York Times Magazine comprise a 12-page

advertorial from

Rwanda. The web address given should you want even more information is

– yes, Rwanda Tourism. Somehow I doubt that the amount of money that Rwanda

is going to make from tourism is going to come close to justifying the cost

of a 12-page advertorial in the New York Times Magazine.

The advertorial comes with a credit: it was "produced and sponsored by

Summit Communications", a company

whose sole purpose seems to be to publish advertorials in the New York Times.

Some advertorials, like that for Libya,

for example, are even on the web at

So far this year, Summit Communications has produced advertorials for Rwanda,

Congo, and Sierra Leone. Last year it did Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, and Libya –

twice. Most of these countries come very low on transparency indices and very

high on corruption indices. Most of them, too, are unlikely to benefit greatly

from this type of exposure.

One can’t help but wonder how Summit Communications persuades these ministers

from highly corrupt countries to pay large amounts of money for advertorials

in the New York Times.

Now it’s true that the fee that Summit Communications charges has to be significantly

greater than the amount that Summit Communications has to pay the NYT. That’s

right and proper, of course: Summit has to produce the report, and make some

money for itself. But maybe – just maybe – some of that fee finds

its way into an offshore bank account controlled by the minister in question?

That can’t be the case: such a practice would make it easier to sell these advertorials,

but would also violate the Foreign

Corrupt Practices Act.

So how does Summit Communications – none of whose principals are named

on its website – manage to keep its sales going? I have no idea.

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112 Responses to The NYT Magazine’s bedfellows

  1. Maria says:

    Hi to everyone,

    I run into this blog while doing a bit of research for an interview with one of this companies. So far … I freak out by the comments and the negativity of the posts .. I really like traveling and the advertising industry. So far, as a young postgraduate student, I didn’t have a different perspective on other industries. Recently I was approach by a Spanish company to work 4 hours a day as an ‘intern’, being demand to travel and ‘sell’ their social media platform, for no money at all, completely UNPAID. So traveling, writing and selling advertisement doesn’t sound so bad … still the comments scared me a bit .. and I am reconsidering where to do the interview or not.

    Can anyone give an updated opinion of this companies and if they are still hiring people ?



  2. Maria says:

    Charles, which one is your company ??

  3. Patricia says:


    I´ve received an email from AFA to be interviewed within this month. As everyone is supposed to be doing, I´m actually collecting some information about the company to get to know a bit more about it. I´m so scared of what I´ve came across with. To be honest, I do have a job related to my studies but this opportunity is giving me the chance to promote myself in a professional/personal level. Now, I´m very confused as I don´t like what I´m learning from several websites. Still, I believe I´ll give them a try and be able to make a decision from what I´ve experienced during the interview process. Maria, are you attending this interview on the 25th?

  4. Maria says:

    Hi Patricia,

    I was in the process with them for almost two months .. my interviews were canceled more than once, I was not getting response from the emails and finally 3 weeks ago I had my last interview. I was very exited, but then after waiting for 4 days .. they told me I didn’t make it to the training … still I want to tray again, I really like the job and talk to people that are working for them .. and they seem to be happy. So did you got the job ???? All the best xoxo

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please be careful, all these companies such as AFA Press and other similar are just crap! It’s a trap, scam, trick, illegal, dangerous, non-ethical, disgusting, and even not safe to work in!

    They just hire naïve young ambitious professionals and use them in a dirty business.

    In reality, there is nothing about becoming a journalist or an interview but just selling aggressively advertising/publicity by ANY MEAN (being aggressive, proposing sexual services, lying on the organization and just stealing already fragile countries..)

    And don’t think you will travel and see the world: you will just work 14hours per day and stay in shit hotels!!

    If my post can avoid some of you to fall in their trap, here are some of their names and they are all tricky and liars.
    They keep changing of names and location to keep surviving and really I wonder why police and governments doesn’t stop them from their illegal activities:

    Oxford Business Group
    Executive Country Reviews
    Media Plus Consulting

    And I’m sure more with their new names…

    Please be careful and don’t go for their job interview even!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    why is it a scam to sell advertising?

  7. dj says:


    I used to work for MediaPlus, and to tell you the truth, it was one of the best experiences.
    Yes, it was hard, long hours work
    Yes, I was lonely from time to time
    Yes, you are not saving the world at all
    But you are selling ads, that’s what ads are….
    I am even thinking of doing it again…

  8. melanie says:


    I’m trying to get a job at Discovery Reports Limited, I have to ask, are they really that bad??? Is your opinion based on your own personal experience?

    This is the only negative information I have found.

    I thought getting a job with them I’ll be able to make alot of money in a short amount of time.

    Thanks, I hope to hear a reply

  9. Badada says:


    I have also taken part in interviews with Discovery Reports Limited… and this article is creeping me out !
    How far in the process are you?
    Does anyone else have anything about Discovery Reports they would like to share? Personal experiences, etc. ?

  10. Natalie says:

    I was contacted for a skype interview, after sending in my resume and cover letter, and doing follow up questions. When I started researching the company, I found so many blogs and posts warning people not to take the job, from people who said they worked for them more than a year to less than two months. I decided not to do the interview, because the description of what goes on with this “international media consultant” position, is not the situation I would want to be exposed to (especially the ones that refer to jail and getting thrown out of countries). It’s not that I expect top tier hotels or amazing pay, but honestly it seems like you have no protection really (just google any of names listed above and those companies come up with many of the same negative reviews).

  11. TK says:


    You must avoid these international media consultant companies. The worst one is Media Plus Consulting, which is under the umbrella of a company called Big Media. AFA Press is also very bad, but Media Plus is by far the worst. The companies change their names very often because they develop a bad reputation and they try to do business in countries again under a different name.

    At Media Plus, this is what will happen: You will fly to Belgium and go to intensive training, but not in Brussels. It’s in the country side. You will share a house with a dozen other people, and share a room with a person of the same sex. The conditions are shabby, but the weekends off to explore the city and working with other young, ambitious, naive people from all over the world will work against your inner judgement. After one week, about half of the people will be let go. MAYBE they will have they flight home paid for. After two weeks, if you make it past then, you will be sent abroad.

    When you are in developing country, you will have to barter for a hotel. If you try to choose a nice but not a posh hotel, you will be told to find another, cheaper one. You are given a press pass, but you are not a journalist. YOU ARE WORKING ON A TOURIST VISA, WHICH IS ILLEGAL IN EVERY COUNTRY REGARDLESS OF YOUR NATIONALITY.

    The are stories that can be confirmed of people getting thrown into jail–How does a Malaysian jail sound?–or being banned from re-entering the country. This has happened in 2003 (Nambia) and 2010 (Malaysia), which have been confirmed by ACTUAL newspapers reporting on this. Also, you are paid 1000 euros a month, at 10% commissions for the first couple months. However, 250 euros is taken out as a security deposit for the camera or recording device, which you don’t get back. In the first three months after the training, you can be sacked at any time. If you quit, you have to pay for your own flight home, which you can’t afford on such a meager salary.

    You are not a journalist. Your press pass is not real. You will first meet with a Prime Minister or high level government official, where you are told not to show your press pass or say your are a journalist. It explicitly says in your contract never to mention you are a journalist, but you are given a press pass. They say it is just for free stuff and access to clubs. (By the way, you won’t have time to do stuff. You will work 14 hours a day from your low-grade hotel room, which probably won’t have WiFi so you will hunt for a cafe with WiFi, a hard thing to do in, say, Sierra Leone. They watch your every move, so you are even working all day on Sunday. So forget leisure.

    NOTE: FOR WOMEN THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS! There have been cases where your beauty of sexy figure will be used to snuggle up to CEOs or Ministers in order to get them to be so blinded by your flirting that you will convince them to pay 50,000 euros to advertise. They will say the publication will reach 500,000 people and the website will get 1 million, but this is not true. It is so not true I don’t even know how to say it angrily enough.

    I worked in journalism internationally. I know how print advertising works. I worked for an overseas TV station, and I know how those ads work. I worked as a teacher abroad, and I know how work visas and tourist visas are different. You are telling companies to pay 10,000-50,000 for advertising, which doesn’t exist. You are going to anger the ministers and CEOs of countries where they can take quick and deliberate action against you. ON TOP OF THIS, YOUR NAME IS ON THE CONTRACT.

    If you want to say, “I went to 6 countries and worked and met cool people,” then put yourself through this hell-hole. But if you want to be scamming important people in corrupt countries, or setting up interviews only to have some beautiful regional manager cozy up (and do God knows what, as I have heard) to meet the crazy standard in sales, then do it. If you don’t get fired after three months, you are on 100% commission.

    I am not airing out dirty laundry. I am saving you a lot of stress and potential legal issues. You will either be fired early and flown home (which is a blessing) or you will quit and having nothing much to show for it other than the friends you made and that you can tell people you went to another country.

    If you want an international life, a REAL contract and steady, livable pay, and want to spend a year or two meeting amazing people, traveling in a region extensively, saving some money, and doing something that actually has real rewards, then teach English as a Foreign Language in Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Chile, etc. There are great job boards, and you will have none of these issues. These countries have English publications and business people there love to meet Westerners. So if you think teaching will be a gap on your resume, research and contact people in your desired field when you get there. That is what I did before and after falling for this group.

    Just a general philosophy: if a company has to make a video or a website strictly for recruitment, then they are trying to hide the fact that you are cannon fodder.

  12. GLK says:

    I keep hearing about these arrests but I haven’t been able to find any article mentioning it. Care to provide sources.

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