steviebrownfor…

November 2nd, 2009 at 4:05 PM ^

While this is funny to see happen to the Freep, it's also a sad statement on American journalism.

Thankfully, there will probably only be around 15-20 printed newspapers nationally in about 10 years; and the Freep will likely not be among them.

mbrummer

November 2nd, 2009 at 4:46 PM ^

"One of the things I think newsrooms have to realize," Mr. Anger says, "is we're here to cover the news in an unvarnished way, but we're also here to facilitate commerce."

No your not. As soon as you have a another goal besides the news, you have a possible conflict of interest or a hidden agenda. If the advertisers are influencing what you write and how you write it, you have become a nice unofficial arm of that company's PR firm. In no way should your goal be to facilitate commerce, because in typical newspaper quote methods I could change that to:

"....to facilitate commerce (for our advertisers)"

To put it in the ridiculous hypothetical, what if Target Executives were caught punching dolphins? Would they report it without reservation or would they warn Target before hand with their prior relationship?

Tacopants

November 2nd, 2009 at 4:46 PM ^

Don't read it if you're a grammar or spelling Nazi. You'd think that the Wall Street Journal would copy edit their post that skins another newspaper, but you'd be wrong...

Aequitas

November 2nd, 2009 at 5:19 PM ^

but as long as the content of a news article is factual, I couldn't care less if it's an article based on an advertiser.

If I were a media outlet, and I had to cover the subject of a known bias, such as an alma mater or an advertiser, I'd approach it in a similar manner as Brian:

“Since I wear my bias on my sleeve I have to deploy facts and precedents and reasoning convincing enough to overcome that.”

Humana's been in the national news a lot recently and I won't politicize these boards, but I'll just say that I have a much larger issue when truth is subverted for an agenda, and leave it at that.

Maximinus Thrax

November 2nd, 2009 at 6:41 PM ^

The question is not so much one of "is the content factual", but rather, how much influence would running corporately sponsored articles have on the journalistic integrity of the publication. In order to keep the gravy train rolling, would they overlook stories that would contradict the corporately approved messages?

Aequitas

November 3rd, 2009 at 12:11 PM ^

entirely too much credit. Let's get that whole "report the facts" thing down before we start worrying about journalistic integrity.

Baby steps.

I do understand what you're saying and what the OP was saying, and I wasn't defending the Freep. What I will say is that a person with integrity can write about whatever subject they want. The truth is precisely and only what it is.

If someone wants to read an article and say, "This is utter BS, they're writing about an advertiser therefore it's biased" and dismiss it out of hand, that's the reader's prerogative. The truth of something is a fixed trait and not something that changes because of an inferred bias.

Imho, Brian's a good example of being able to write objectively about given topics that he's partial to. I really like his quote on a similar subject and I've used it several times myself.