A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down

Several weeks ago we received a presentation from a major Canadian newspaper publisher entitled “New Approach to Media Relations for PR Consultants.” In it, the presenter outlined a new process available for PR folks pitching their clients’ work. While I couldn’t attend at the time, I obtained a copy of the deck and got a thorough debrief from the people who were in the room. I’m glad I did, as what I learned horrified me.

Worried businessmanI waited for a while before writing this post, as I let the implications of what I learned sink in and decide if I was over-reacting. I found myself back where I started, though – in a state of something approaching despair about the state of the mainstream media and what it means for public relations as we know it.

The bottom line: the newspaper publisher was directly pitching us the promise of editorial coverage paired with advertising. Quoting their presentation:

“We can help your clients marry their PR message with their Advertising message to strengthen their brand.”

The Old Media Relations Process

As it stands, you can simplify the basic existing process down to three steps once an initiative is underway (yes, this is dramatically over-simplified but it covers the basics):

  1. Develop a news release or pitch
  2. Send the release over the wire/pitch it to journalists
  3. Hope for the best

The Emerging Process

The new approach to media relations, according to the publisher:

  1. Call your “friendly” contact and tell them about:
    • The product
    • The key message
    • Target audience
    • Target markets
  2. Provide publisher with:
    • Editorial themes to complement your key message
    • When you want it in market
    • Where you want it in market
  3. “Open the newspaper(s) and view the editorial content inspired by you and your client with their brand ad exclusively displayed on that page.”

Sounds like a PR person’s dream, right? It might be, if it weren’t for six words in that last bullet. Six words which undermine the entire premise of earned media:

“…with their brand ad exclusively displayed…”

That’s right – they’ll even guarantee exclusivity for your brand on a page, as your ads will make up the rest of the page.

What this means

I get it. The benefits are clear for both sides here. For newspapers, they gain additional revenue while requiring fewer resources to produce the editorial content required to fill their publication.
From an agency perspective, the benefits again are clear - they get the one thing they've always lacked with earned media: control. Control over the message, over the content, over the target audience for coverage. What’s more, they get exclusivity on the page – jackpot.

On the flip side, it seems the church and state divide in media – the editorial/advertising divide – has completely crumbled. Buy ads in their papers, and they’ll even consider your target audience when they write what they still insist is “100% editorial.” My ethical alarm bells are sounding loud and clear here.

An end to credibility?

While only a naive person would suggest that the advertising/editorial line was ever completely steadfast, the credibility that came with independent coverage is what lent “earned media” its title and its value – you had to earn your coverage.

While the presenter insisted that this was only the case for certain sections of their publications, and that the front section was separate to this, it’s a very slippery slope when these companies are desperate for revenue.

This also raises the question of influence on other sections of the paper. Will an editor really run a positively-toned, on-message story for an advertiser against an investigative or negatively-toned piece in another section?

All of these questions further undermine the credibility of the publication. With credibility gone, where does this leave traditional earned media?

(Photo: Shutterstock)

68 comments
marylyn donahue
marylyn donahue

I've written both corporate/sponsored journalism and the "real thing" a news story and/or features for legit publications.

With the later, the writer has only one "deliverable" when writing the story—to tell the truth as best you can.

Involve a client (sponsor) in the process and suddenly you have a handful of "deliverables" (they are paying after all and money buys them what they want).

All the writer's deliverables for a client/sponsor have to do with staying on the sponsor's message (either subtly or not so subtly).

The content may indeed be real and some of it may even be of value, but what's been left out in service to the sponsor? What facts have been shaped to support the sponsor's message? What oversight did they have in approving the final edit? What changes did they make? There is no way of telling.

The real loser in all of this is the reader who doesn't know what he or she doesn't know.

marylyn donahue
marylyn donahue

I've written both corporate/sponsored journalism and the "real thing" a news story and/or features for legit publications. With the later, the writer has only one "deliverable" when writing the story—to tell the truth as best you can. Involve a client (sponsor) in the process and suddenly you have a handful of "deliverables" (they are paying after all and money buys them what they want). All the writer's deliverables for a client/sponsor have to do with staying on the sponsor's message (either subtly or not so subtly). The content may indeed be real and some of it may even be of value, but what's been left out in service to the sponsor? What facts have been shaped to support the sponsor's message? What oversight did they have in approving the final edit? What changes did they make? There is no way of telling. The real loser in all of this is the reader who doesn't know what he or she doesn't know.

Scott Douglas
Scott Douglas

Onomatopoeias have never been my thing.

So I don't know how to express in writing the noise of me sucking in air over my teeth with right mixture of alarm and utter despondency.

I loved my career in journalism before moving over to PR around eight years ago.

Those I know in journalism remain as committed as ever to news values and delivering coverage that informs and entertains in an ever tougher environment.

It's those people still working in news who I try to empathise with when reading about this.

This is a fundamental transgression of such wrongness it must make them ache to their marrow.

The vibrations of indigantion make me feel like my shins are splitting

Scott Douglas
Scott Douglas

Onomatopoeias have never been my thing. So I don't know how to express in writing the noise of me sucking in air over my teeth with right mixture of alarm and utter despondency. I loved my career in journalism before moving over to PR around eight years ago. Those I know in journalism remain as committed as ever to news values and delivering coverage that informs and entertains in an ever tougher environment. It's those people still working in news who I try to empathise with when reading about this. This is a fundamental transgression of such wrongness it must make them ache to their marrow. The vibrations of indigantion make me feel like my shins are splitting

david (digitaljoy)
david (digitaljoy)

Interesting to read the comments to your post. Seems they are split down the middle, not the least bit surprised / cynical vs the idealistic “cant believe that happens”. I fall on the cynical side. Big ad buy = favourable editorial, is the way small newspapers have been working since I have been in the industry (10 years). Famously the Ottawa Xpress does a “best ____” (restaurant, sandwich, theatre, etc) every year. Results are not done by vote (as claimed) but by ad buy. I’m not comparing the Xpress with the Toronto Star, nor am I comparing “best of” polls to “real” editorial, however the credibility issues are the same. In my honest opinion, I don’t have a problem with “buying” a favourable story, as you rightly point out, it’s a win / win situation for the newspaper and for the PR professional. Exclusivity for your product does not necessarily mean poor journalism. When discussing cars, I rarely see anybody talk about the Lada. What would be a disturbing turn of events is buying your way out of a bad story, (hey we found out your breaks don’t work… wanna buy a full page…”). As I said, I fall on the cynical side, and to me, that’s not a big leap.

david (digitaljoy)
david (digitaljoy)

Interesting to read the comments to your post. Seems they are split down the middle, not the least bit surprised / cynical vs the idealistic “cant believe that happens”. I fall on the cynical side. Big ad buy = favourable editorial, is the way small newspapers have been working since I have been in the industry (10 years). Famously the Ottawa Xpress does a “best ____” (restaurant, sandwich, theatre, etc) every year. Results are not done by vote (as claimed) but by ad buy. I’m not comparing the Xpress with the Toronto Star, nor am I comparing “best of” polls to “real” editorial, however the credibility issues are the same.

In my honest opinion, I don’t have a problem with “buying” a favourable story, as you rightly point out, it’s a win / win situation for the newspaper and for the PR professional. Exclusivity for your product does not necessarily mean poor journalism. When discussing cars, I rarely see anybody talk about the Lada. What would be a disturbing turn of events is buying your way out of a bad story, (hey we found out your breaks don’t work… wanna buy a full page…”). As I said, I fall on the cynical side, and to me, that’s not a big leap.

Cheryl Andonian
Cheryl Andonian

I think it's been a pretty common practice for publications to ask for the purchase of editorial coverage, but maybe not in such a blatantly open manner. The usual scenario is - sure, we'll give you some coverage, then we'll sell you an ad, and our "relationship" begins. Tit for tat, as they say. As someone who launched and had to promote a bare bones start-up consumer product company with no budget at all for adverstising, I was out there trying to get as much editorial coverage as I could. I did get pretty good coverage, but when I consistently had to reject pitches to buy advertising because we simply didn't have the money, the coverage seemed to be harder and harder to get. I'm not sure there is such a thing as unbiased news. I'm not sure there ever was. We are humans not machines after all. I'm not saying that I think this is a great approach to getting editorial coverage, but I don't think this is earth shattering news. I just don't think anyone has come out and said it so openly. It's usually just a wink, wink kind of thing and everyone knows what's expected.

Cheryl Andonian
Cheryl Andonian

I think it's been a pretty common practice for publications to ask for the purchase of editorial coverage, but maybe not in such a blatantly open manner. The usual scenario is - sure, we'll give you some coverage, then we'll sell you an ad, and our "relationship" begins. Tit for tat, as they say. As someone who launched and had to promote a bare bones start-up consumer product company with no budget at all for adverstising, I was out there trying to get as much editorial coverage as I could. I did get pretty good coverage, but when I consistently had to reject pitches to buy advertising because we simply didn't have the money, the coverage seemed to be harder and harder to get. I'm not sure there is such a thing as unbiased news. I'm not sure there ever was. We are humans not machines after all. I'm not saying that I think this is a great approach to getting editorial coverage, but I don't think this is earth shattering news. I just don't think anyone has come out and said it so openly. It's usually just a wink, wink kind of thing and everyone knows what's expected.

Heather Yaxley
Heather Yaxley

We have to accept that the media has to make money to exist - whether that is from advertising, cover price, sponsorship or other means (something a lot of PR practitioners don't seem to appreciate). If PR practitioners really want good quality, investigative journalism that has to be funded - and return on the investment of the publishers. But, I wonder if that's what most of the practitioners who are "shocked" by this publication's overt commercial attitude want. Most seem to believe that their "news" should be reported (without interference from those pesky journalists) free of charge as endorsed editorial. Hell, it is pitched and written that way so that the media can basically cut and paste the release. Nice easy cutting, happy client - job done! But as Ivy Ledbetter Lee noted over a century ago - that's about getting adverts printed free of charge and such releases (or pitches) should be redirected to the advertising department by journalists. Unless we stop selling (isn't that what pitching actually means) marketing messages to the media pretending this is "news", whilst also telling clients to cut back on advertising, because PR is more cost effective, we can't be surprised that the media retaliates by charging for "editorial" puff. Public relations has to be about more than "free editorial" (calculated in advertising value equivalent measures) if it isn't to be seen as an attempt at "free advertising". And why should publications give companies free advertising?

Heather Yaxley
Heather Yaxley

We have to accept that the media has to make money to exist - whether that is from advertising, cover price, sponsorship or other means (something a lot of PR practitioners don't seem to appreciate).

If PR practitioners really want good quality, investigative journalism that has to be funded - and return on the investment of the publishers. But, I wonder if that's what most of the practitioners who are "shocked" by this publication's overt commercial attitude want.

Most seem to believe that their "news" should be reported (without interference from those pesky journalists) free of charge as endorsed editorial. Hell, it is pitched and written that way so that the media can basically cut and paste the release. Nice easy cutting, happy client - job done!

But as Ivy Ledbetter Lee noted over a century ago - that's about getting adverts printed free of charge and such releases (or pitches) should be redirected to the advertising department by journalists.

Unless we stop selling (isn't that what pitching actually means) marketing messages to the media pretending this is "news", whilst also telling clients to cut back on advertising, because PR is more cost effective, we can't be surprised that the media retaliates by charging for "editorial" puff.

Public relations has to be about more than "free editorial" (calculated in advertising value equivalent measures) if it isn't to be seen as an attempt at "free advertising". And why should publications give companies free advertising?

Stefano Maggi
Stefano Maggi

Good point. People will still need a credible place to discuss, a source they can trust. If a landscape like the one you point out occurs (e.g. page with editorial content + ads), probably customers will shift away to other places, where they can have discussions they can trust. The system will self-reorganize itself to that extent, don't you think?

Stefano Maggi
Stefano Maggi

Good point. People will still need a credible place to discuss, a source they can trust. If a landscape like the one you point out occurs (e.g. page with editorial content + ads), probably customers will shift away to other places, where they can have discussions they can trust. The system will self-reorganize itself to that extent, don't you think?

Yasmine
Yasmine

I agree completely. I think if this becomes common practice, it would eventually cheapen the value of earned media. I would worry that readers would find out about it (which we know they will) and begin to question legitimate reviews or mentions, because really, it may not be so easy to distinguish between that and these "editorials".

Yasmine
Yasmine

I agree completely. I think if this becomes common practice, it would eventually cheapen the value of earned media. I would worry that readers would find out about it (which we know they will) and begin to question legitimate reviews or mentions, because really, it may not be so easy to distinguish between that and these "editorials".

Marcus Osborne
Marcus Osborne

Yet another desperate act by print media to hang onto the life jacket. Little wonder than consumers are turning to other consumers when researching potential purchases.

Mind you, I have to disagree with Mose. Out here in Asia, they've been saying, "Buy an ad and get a page of editorial" for years. They do it in the UK too.

Marcus Osborne
Marcus Osborne

Yet another desperate act by print media to hang onto the life jacket. Little wonder than consumers are turning to other consumers when researching potential purchases. Mind you, I have to disagree with Mose. Out here in Asia, they've been saying, "Buy an ad and get a page of editorial" for years. They do it in the UK too.

David Weinberger
David Weinberger

Wow. That's a line we don't want crossed.

So, which newspaper was it? Is there some reason you're not allowed to tell us?

David Weinberger
David Weinberger

Wow. That's a line we don't want crossed. So, which newspaper was it? Is there some reason you're not allowed to tell us?

Cassandra Jowett
Cassandra Jowett

I think we're kidding ourselves if we think there is, or has ever been, objectivity in reporting. Each reporter has his or her own axe to grind and, especially on a slow news day, editors at large national newspapers will publish almost anything to fill the pages (i.e., to fill the holes between the advertisements). No one is "earning" coverage there.

The publications that don't strike a balance between the editorial and the advertising, whether they're separated or not, are bound to fail. No one will take them seriously and another publication will do it better and with more profits.

There is also a huge responsibility on editors to keep their own ethics in check when dealing with advertisers -- that is the future work of management-level journalists. It's no longer good enough just to "curate" the information.

As the editor of a niche publication which publishes sponsored and independent editorial, I know that I would NEVER publish sponsored editorial content that wasn't right for my audience no matter how large the potential revenue, nor would I attempt to mislead my audience to cushion the company's bottom line. I sometimes butt heads with the salespeople who sell our sponsored editorial content, but that means we just have to sit down and work out what's best for our clients AND our audience. I pick my battles wisely so my colleagues know that when I speak up about an ethical issue it's REALLY important.

It's definitely going to be a bumpy road, but I don't think this spells the end of so-called objective or investigative reporting. The system has been broken for a long time and there are plenty of opportunities to develop new ways of doing things. This is just the first incarnation.

Cassandra Jowett
Cassandra Jowett

I think we're kidding ourselves if we think there is, or has ever been, objectivity in reporting. Each reporter has his or her own axe to grind and, especially on a slow news day, editors at large national newspapers will publish almost anything to fill the pages (i.e., to fill the holes between the advertisements). No one is "earning" coverage there. The publications that don't strike a balance between the editorial and the advertising, whether they're separated or not, are bound to fail. No one will take them seriously and another publication will do it better and with more profits. There is also a huge responsibility on editors to keep their own ethics in check when dealing with advertisers -- that is the future work of management-level journalists. It's no longer good enough just to "curate" the information. As the editor of a niche publication which publishes sponsored and independent editorial, I know that I would NEVER publish sponsored editorial content that wasn't right for my audience no matter how large the potential revenue, nor would I attempt to mislead my audience to cushion the company's bottom line. I sometimes butt heads with the salespeople who sell our sponsored editorial content, but that means we just have to sit down and work out what's best for our clients AND our audience. I pick my battles wisely so my colleagues know that when I speak up about an ethical issue it's REALLY important. It's definitely going to be a bumpy road, but I don't think this spells the end of so-called objective or investigative reporting. The system has been broken for a long time and there are plenty of opportunities to develop new ways of doing things. This is just the first incarnation.

mose
mose

If you have ever been in or near the trade magazine business - this is not news. This is what they do.

If you have ever been in a Board meeting at a newspaper - this is not new. This is how they plan.

If you have ever been at a radio station - this is how they make their living. radio has NO editorial! Unless they are reading a newspaper - which is how they get their news.

All media was invented to sell ads. That is why they are there. The Net has not caused a failure of journalism the failure is the failure of advertising. Advertising has not gotten better over the years. It has not kept in step with our overall societal make up - we are more sophisticated. Advertising is not. If we had great ads and great companies out there selling us great stuff the newspapers, TV, radio and mags would be all a twitter and falling over themselves making money.

Red herring. Sorry.

mose
mose

If you have ever been in or near the trade magazine business - this is not news. This is what they do. If you have ever been in a Board meeting at a newspaper - this is not new. This is how they plan. If you have ever been at a radio station - this is how they make their living. radio has NO editorial! Unless they are reading a newspaper - which is how they get their news. All media was invented to sell ads. That is why they are there. The Net has not caused a failure of journalism the failure is the failure of advertising. Advertising has not gotten better over the years. It has not kept in step with our overall societal make up - we are more sophisticated. Advertising is not. If we had great ads and great companies out there selling us great stuff the newspapers, TV, radio and mags would be all a twitter and falling over themselves making money. Red herring. Sorry.

Rayanne Langdon
Rayanne Langdon

And what does this mean for the PR guy or gal unwilling to participate in something he or she feels is unethical? You win someone's business and then you're asked to pay for your coverage. Not only does the company stand on shaky ground, the representing firm does as well.

Scary stuff, indeed.

Rayanne Langdon
Rayanne Langdon

And what does this mean for the PR guy or gal unwilling to participate in something he or she feels is unethical? You win someone's business and then you're asked to pay for your coverage. Not only does the company stand on shaky ground, the representing firm does as well. Scary stuff, indeed.

Eric Portelance
Eric Portelance

This sounds very similar to what many magazines have been doing for a long time. Having "sponsored" inserts/pages which blend into the regular magazine content almost seamlessly. In many cases, the layout is identical, with only the "Sponsored Content" moniker at the top differentiating it.

I can't imagine opening the Globe and Mail or any other newspaper and seeing such a thing. There are a lot of details here that remain unknown. I'm guessing the articles will be written by a staff writer, as opposed to the agency/client providing the content word-for-word. That's what's most frightening.

I'm also assuming that this is no longer "earned" media, at all, but rather such content will fetch typical advertising rates. I wonder what it means for earned media. Will it become even harder to pitch a story? Will the journalist simply ask you to pay for it instead?

Eric Portelance
Eric Portelance

This sounds very similar to what many magazines have been doing for a long time. Having "sponsored" inserts/pages which blend into the regular magazine content almost seamlessly. In many cases, the layout is identical, with only the "Sponsored Content" moniker at the top differentiating it. I can't imagine opening the Globe and Mail or any other newspaper and seeing such a thing. There are a lot of details here that remain unknown. I'm guessing the articles will be written by a staff writer, as opposed to the agency/client providing the content word-for-word. That's what's most frightening. I'm also assuming that this is no longer "earned" media, at all, but rather such content will fetch typical advertising rates. I wonder what it means for earned media. Will it become even harder to pitch a story? Will the journalist simply ask you to pay for it instead?

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Hi David,

Two reasons for not naming the outlet publicly:

1. Although I slip up occasionally (I'm human after all), I'm slowly learning not to point the finger at companies.
2. A more selfish reason: I still have to work with journalists from that paper.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Hi David, Two reasons for not naming the outlet publicly: 1. Although I slip up occasionally (I'm human after all), I'm slowly learning not to point the finger at companies. 2. A more selfish reason: I still have to work with journalists from that paper.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Thanks for your comment, Cassandra - I'm really glad to hear the perspective from people working on the other side of this debate. You make a couple of really good points - that everyone has a point of view, that the focus on the audience is absolutely key and that there needs to be an element of self-policing if this is to avoid becoming a bigger issue.

I have much less of a problem with content that's flagged as "sponsored" - it's not ideal, and speaks to the unfortunate state of the industry that this is necessary, but it's transparent so is much less concerning for me. Still, I worry when this kind of content is positioned as editorial rather than advertorial. The line then blurs somewhat.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Thanks for your comment, Cassandra - I'm really glad to hear the perspective from people working on the other side of this debate. You make a couple of really good points - that everyone has a point of view, that the focus on the audience is absolutely key and that there needs to be an element of self-policing if this is to avoid becoming a bigger issue. I have much less of a problem with content that's flagged as "sponsored" - it's not ideal, and speaks to the unfortunate state of the industry that this is necessary, but it's transparent so is much less concerning for me. Still, I worry when this kind of content is positioned as editorial rather than advertorial. The line then blurs somewhat.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Thanks for your perspective on this - voices from the MSM side are very much needed in this discussion.

mose
mose

Don't work in trade mags then! I have owned several - trust me on this. And worked at Standard Broadcasting - trust me. And run agencies...

No one is evil.

Hey just a suggestion - the twitter comments are distracting in this comment section. My humble suggestion is to lose em.

As I said - great post BTW!

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Yep, and I don't view them as evil with this latest play either - I guess it's an unfortunate result of the state of the industry. Still, despite the benefits for both sides, I'm not sure I can stomach sponsored content positioned as editorial.

mose
mose

Exactly how the media wanted to position itself. They are not going to come out and say 'Hey buy an ad get an editorial.'

They want to be viewed as unbiased and journalistically pure. My question is - then why has investigative journalism vanished? The news is bought from AP and the like.

News is now entertainment. In the States with the removal of the Fair Trade Doctrine - like 5 companies control almost all the TV and radio and newspapers. Thanks Mr Regan! Free and independent media is gone. What did you think they would do?

Folks are not doing this in media to be duplicitous BTW. I am not making them out to be evil - it is the nature of the beast. It is, and always has been, their business model. Think about this. Look at every newspaper we have. Have a look at Special Sections. How do you think they come up with those ideas? Editorial value? Nope. It is based on ad revenue.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

That's a bit of an over-statement, given that I've been involved in pitching editorial content for quite a while now.

Regardless, even if it may not be news to people on the other side of the line, it certainly was to the seasoned PR people I know... and it's certainly not how these media have positioned themselves in the past.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

That's a bit of an over-statement, given that I've been involved in pitching editorial content for quite a while now. Regardless, even if it may not be news to people on the other side of the line, it certainly was to the seasoned PR people I know... and it's certainly not how these media have positioned themselves in the past.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

I wonder what the public response would be if we started to see stories about government written in this way. My sense is there would be an outcry.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

I wonder what the public response would be if we started to see stories about government written in this way. My sense is there would be an outcry.

Ross
Ross

What readers...?

Newspapers are hanging by a thread right now. You think they care if the masses make a stink out of this? Why would they? They're a dying breed. The majority of the people who still read the paper won't be with us in a few years. And until Newspapers come up with a new revenue model - their future is unpromising.

I think its fair to say that this is their last supper.

Eric Portelance
Eric Portelance

If they're not transparent about it, it will really damage their credibility & objectivity in the eyes of their readers. Once people find out that people are paying for "news", I'm sure there will be an uproar.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

I'll be honest - I've wondered the same thing - whether it's going to get harder and harder to earn coverage without paying for it.

From what I can tell, the word "sponsored" doesn't appear anywhere on the page under this system.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

I'll be honest - I've wondered the same thing - whether it's going to get harder and harder to earn coverage without paying for it. From what I can tell, the word "sponsored" doesn't appear anywhere on the page under this system.

mose
mose

Exactly how the media wanted to position itself. They are not going to come out and say 'Hey buy an ad get an editorial.' They want to be viewed as unbiased and journalistically pure. My question is - then why has investigative journalism vanished? The news is bought from AP and the like. News is now entertainment. In the States with the removal of the Fair Trade Doctrine - like 5 companies control almost all the TV and radio and newspapers. Thanks Mr Regan! Free and independent media is gone. What did you think they would do? Folks are not doing this in media to be duplicitous BTW. I am not making them out to be evil - it is the nature of the beast. It is, and always has been, their business model. Think about this. Look at every newspaper we have. Have a look at Special Sections. How do you think they come up with those ideas? Editorial value? Nope. It is based on ad revenue.

Eric Portelance
Eric Portelance

If they're not transparent about it, it will really damage their credibility & objectivity in the eyes of their readers. Once people find out that people are paying for "news", I'm sure there will be an uproar.

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Thanks for your perspective on this - voices from the MSM side are very much needed in this discussion.

mose
mose

Don't work in trade mags then! I have owned several - trust me on this. And worked at Standard Broadcasting - trust me. And run agencies... No one is evil. Hey just a suggestion - the twitter comments are distracting in this comment section. My humble suggestion is to lose em. As I said - great post BTW!

Dave Fleet
Dave Fleet

Yep, and I don't view them as evil with this latest play either - I guess it's an unfortunate result of the state of the industry. Still, despite the benefits for both sides, I'm not sure I can stomach sponsored content positioned as editorial.

Ross
Ross

What readers...? Newspapers are hanging by a thread right now. You think they care if the masses make a stink out of this? Why would they? They're a dying breed. The majority of the people who still read the paper won't be with us in a few years. And until Newspapers come up with a new revenue model - their future is unpromising. I think its fair to say that this is their last supper.

Trackbacks

  1. Twitter Comment


    A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down | davefleet.com [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  2. Twitter Comment


    A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down | davefleet.com [link to post] (a scary trend)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  3. Twitter Comment


    RT @davefleet: A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  4. Twitter Comment


    RT @davefleet A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  5. Twitter Comment


    RT @CathyBrowne: RT @davefleet A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  6. Twitter Comment


    This stinks. Plain and simple. RT @davefleet: A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  7. Twitter Comment


    Gross RTDavewire @davefleet: A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post] #PR

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  8. Twitter Comment


    Scary thought! RT @davefleet: A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  9. Twitter Comment


    RT @davefleet A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post] OLD NEWS (Heck. Ask PUBLICITAS)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  10. Twitter Comment


    RT @davefleet: A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post] #PR

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  11. Twitter Comment


    RT @davefleet: A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post] http://myloc.me/5ESGu

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  12. Twitter Comment


    RT @Davewire: RT @davefleet: A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post] #PR

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  13. Twitter Comment


    RT: @bethsaad: Separação Igreja/Estado nos meios jornalísticos fica fluida na visão de Dave Fleet. A refletir… [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  14. Twitter Comment


    I’ve noticed this happening in last 5 yrs RT @davefleet: dark future for journalism – editorial/advertising wall down: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  15. Twitter Comment


    What has happened to ethics? RT @davefleet: A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  16. Twitter Comment


    Disturbing. RT @davefleet A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down | davefleet.com [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  17. Twitter Comment


    RT @davefleet A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down | davefleet.com [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  18. Twitter Comment


    A major CDN newspaper publisher is apparently openly selling coverage to ad/PR folks: [link to post]. Anyone know who? (via @ydb)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  19. Twitter Comment


    A dark future for journalism [link to post]. @DaveFleet looks at pay-to-play in MSM. So much for objectivity in reporting.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  20. Twitter Comment


    RT @JodiEchakowitz: A dark future for journalism [link to post]. @DaveFleet looks at pay-to-play in MSM. So much for objectivity in re

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  21. Twitter Comment


    A thoughtful account on a concerning new approach to journalism from @davefleet: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  22. Twitter Comment


    RT @LizaPJones: A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down | davefleet.com [link to post] (a scary trend)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  23. Twitter Comment


    A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  24. Twitter Comment


    RT @jessbennett: A thoughtful account on a concerning new approach to journalism from @davefleet: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  25. Twitter Comment


    RT @flemingsean: RT @CathyBrowne: RT @davefleet A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  26. Twitter Comment


    A dark future for journalism – the editorial/advertising wall is down: [link to post] Scary stuff, via @davefleet

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  27. Twitter Comment


    A dark future for journalism – the editorial/ad wall is down [link to post]) via @davefleet – a very disturbing trend

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  28. Twitter Comment


    A dark future for journalism – the editorial / ad wall is down [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  29. Twitter Comment


    RT @purplehayz: A dark future for journalism – the editorial / ad wall is down [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  30. Twitter Comment


    Hell, that wall’s BEEN down. For years. < RT @purplehayz: A dark future for journalism - the editorial / ad wall is down [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  31. Twitter Comment


    Retweet: A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] @davefleet /via @Frank… http://bit.ly/bu49xI

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  32. Twitter Comment


    A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] @davefleet

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  33. Twitter Comment


    A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] @davefleet /via @Frank_Strong

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  34. Twitter Comment


    A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] @davefleet /via @Frank_Strong @HowellMarketing

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  35. Twitter Comment


    RT @Frank_Strong: A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] @davefleet

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  36. [...] folks like Ike Pigott and Dave Fleet are sending me brain waves or something. Both of their pieces from this week were insightful and [...]

  37. Twitter Comment


    RT @princess_misia: A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] (from @davefleet)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  38. Twitter Comment


    A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] (from @davefleet) RT @princess_misia

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  39. Twitter Comment


    A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] (from @davefleet)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  40. Twitter Comment


    RT @JP_DC: RT @princess_misia: A Dark Future For Journalism – The Editorial/Ad Wall Is Down [link to post] (from @davefleet)

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  41. Twitter Comment


    Was it @TorontoStar that @davefleet was referring [link to post] RE: @mondoville ASH.MADISON ADVERTORIAL IN STAR? http://bit.ly/9ZOg0m

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  42. [...] A Dark Future for Journlaism, by Dave Fleet [...]

  43. [...] the two discuss the implications of a post by Dave Fleet outlining some new proposals being put forth by newspapers to PR pros. While the pair guesses that [...]

  44. [...] the publications monetize based on subscriptions and ad revenue.  The two are, in theory, held (more or less) strictly separate (more on that [...]