Just a quick note: I'm based in New York. The weird GMAs and PS3 contests and "weird club of pals and buddies" that Robert Florence discussed in his article are all based in the UK. My experiences in this industry have been almost nothing like what he has described. There seem to be a lot of fundamental differences in the way that UK and US press operate, which is another wrinkle to consider when having this conversation.
I don't think any reporters I know would think it was OK to consult for companies that they write about, for example. At least I hope not!