Corporate Reporting?

ill_p494Corporate Reporting?

Here is a case of a newspaper printing a more complex form of a corporate news release. This news release was designed and marketed to the public as a product of the newspaper when in fact it was sophisticated advertising.

If we analyze this in terms of stakeholder analysis, the shareholders are doing very well. More profits – more dividends.

Of course, another set of stakeholders would be the customers. These unfortunates were and probably are under the misapprehension that they were reading the work of journalists.

With a little work, the newspaper could convert itself totally into an advertisement and avoid all journalism.

James Pilant

The Denver Post’s ‘Energy And Environment’ Section Is Produced By The Oil And Gas Industry | ThinkProgress

The Post’s advertising section may have ruffled a few feathers in Colorado, but the paper is hardly the first news organization to have stories, or even entire sections, sponsored by outside advertisers. Congressional news organization Roll Call has two sponsored sections — a Boeing-sponsored defense section and, similar to the Denver Post, an energy section sponsored by BP.

The Atlantic’s sponsored content caused a stir last year, when the website posted a sponsored story about the church of Scientology. The story was later taken down after readers and other news outlets took notice, and the Atlantic issued an apology for posting the sponsored content. The New York Times, Time, BuzzFeed and TPM have also ventured into sponsored content.

And while one of the major concerns of news organizations and advocacy groups is whether or not readers will recognize sponsored content as advertising, Kelly McBride, senior faculty member for ethics at the Poynter Institute, told ThinkProgress that not much is known yet about how readers respond to sponsored content.

“Clearly news organizations have got to find new sources of revenue, and I think sponsored content is a stream of revenue many news organizations are turning towards,” she said. “We don’t know much about how consumers perceive sponsored content — we haven’t seen many good studies yet.”

via The Denver Post’s ‘Energy And Environment’ Section Is Produced By The Oil And Gas Industry | ThinkProgress.

From Around the Web.

From the web site,

Brace yourself for the wave of complaints that will surely come: As previously announced, Facebook began to add sponsored stories to users’ news feeds Tuesday.

The sponsored stories contain an indication next to the time stamp that the post is “featured,” and users need not worry about random ad content infiltrating their news feeds, as the only sponsored stories they will see are from pages they have already liked.

Content from pages users’ friends have liked and interacted with may appear, as well, but advertisers cannot alter the messages included with that content.

Sister blog Inside Facebook reported that Facebook will initially limit sponsored stories in the news feed to one per day, and they will not appear when the social network is accessed on mobile devices.

TechCrunch took issue with the language being used by Facebook, saying that “featured” doesn’t denote that the content is paid advertising, and that posts labeled with that word could be mistaken for popular content.

Inside Facebook also reported that Facebook teamed up with sandwich chain Which Wich to test the offering of coupons to users who have liked the Which Wich page. As of late Tuesday, more than 4,300 of the chain’s 104,000-plus Facebook fans had claimed a coupon for a free 22-ounce soft drink with the purchase of a sandwich. We wonder if coupons will be an option for featured stories at some point in the future.

2 thoughts on “Corporate Reporting?

  1. The aim is clearly to appear as though the content is of the same reputation and minimal bias as the journalistic entity, while clearly just a direct conduit of the firm’s public relations department. A very interesting marketing study would be one that might analyze the relationship between sponsored content and the financial value, market share, and journalistic prestige to the occurrence of sponsored content. While the Atlantic and the NY Times are apt to issue apologies and formulate standards for accepting sponsored content following a backlash from their readers, lesser media outlets are more likely to surrender themselves entirely to corporate content (Chevron owns the Richmond Standard to put out “news” In 1960 the public relations agent to journalist ratio was 0.75 to 1, while today the ratio is 5 to 1. Furthermore, Nichols and McChesney report that 86% of media content is from sponsored sources (source: The Death and Life of American Journalism).

    What is most interesting here is the fact that media is no longer gaining content from sponsored sources that they vet and then publish, but completely surrendering their space to the direct publication of the company line. A press release may be fine as a source for a journalist to write their own story or report clean facts… it is entirely something else when the media outlet simply offers pages to others that are masquerading as their own.


    1. I have no objection to the media reporting on industry research or even publicizing their activities. But you said it exactly, when they totally surrender their function as journalists, they are not even pretending to be middlemen. jp


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