The barrier between reporter and source is permeable indeed. Howard is not the first ad reporter to end up in the employ of the companies she's spent years covering.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Former Adweek reporters Hank Kim and Rich Linnett (who also wrote for Ad Age) jumped into -- and then out of -- MPG as branded entertainment execs. Linnett is now at Fathom.
And Former Adweek reporter Thomas Siebert became vp communications at MPG and then preceded Kim and Linnett out the door at MPG in 2006.
Why does this happen? Because agencies pay better than news operations do.
*Disclosure: Author is a former employee of Adweek and Brandweek and still writes occasionally for the latter.