The tactics on display here are just awful. It’s not a failure of outreach or anything as easy to write-off as that – it’s a failure of understanding. They just don’t understand what is ethical and what isn’t.
As I’ve said before, online outreach is – or at least should be – no different from traditional media outreach. And this email would never, ever be sent to a writer at The Chicago Tribune. Therefore it should never have been sent to online media.