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Growing realization that news outlets are more in ad business than news business likely to shake-up journalism 7/16/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Advertising revenues.

Journalism and advertising have had an uncomfortable relationship for the past century. Journalism doctrine dictates that those writing news be completely independent from advertiser pressures, so that readers get a pure stream of unadulterated truth. Of course, journalists have made the same demand for independence from everyone else — the government, businesses, even their own management. And the nature of the threat is a little hard to understand, given that the chances of newspapers writing an article that impacted any particular advertiser on a day-to-day basis always seemed pretty small.

But as Terry Heaton points out, with growing financial pressures on traditional media, it is becoming clear that they have been more in the advertising business than the news business all along. Traditional media companies today are suffering, not because new forms of media are taking away readers, but because they are taking away advertising. Having lost their oligopoly control of the limited number of distribution channels advertisers could use to reach consumers, traditional outlets will be under increasing pressure to tailor their publications to provide exceptionally good exposure opportunities for advertisers. Journalists’ independence from advertisers will be seen as a luxury from an age when traditional outlets had more power over advertisers than they ever will again.


1. Newspapers Value is Falling Off the Cliff « Spot Us - The Blog - 7/16/08

[…] from Terry Heaton about the uncomfortable relationship between advertising and journalism [hat tip Steve Boris] and I only become more motivated to pioneer ‘community funded reporting’ here at Spot […]

2. Johnny Cache - 7/18/08

You are right on the money.
In St. Louis all you have to do is look at Today In St. Louis on KSDK on Tuesday mornings. They are giving advertisers huge amounts of air time and having their anchors interact with products all under the guise of “feature story” when in reality it is just a commercial. At one point they drove a tiny car onto the set, the anchors climbed in and talked about how comfortable roomy and cool the car is… With this segment it isn’t the news that comes first, it is the advertiser.

3. Wheat From Chaff » In The Advertising Business - Trends, Events, and Business Strategy - 7/28/08

[…] about the future of media companies, Steve Boriss believes that, “Journalists’ independence from advertisers will be seen as a luxury from an age when […]

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