Saturday, July 05, 2014

Media advertorials

Hey kids, remember PostMedia's pitch for their tarsands promotion partnership with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers :
"Postmedia is proud to present its 2013 media partnership with CAPP.
We are a media company national in scope but community-focused. Canadians know our brands, trust our content, and welcome us as a vital member of their communities.
CAPP's messaging will extend to our massive mobile and tablet network so that vital energy information is never more than a click away. Our print coverage will include weekly energy editorial across our entire newspaper chain*, along with monthly joint ventures and quarterly special reports on subjects CAPP needs to bring to the forefront of Canadian consciousness."
National Post, Financial Post, Vancouver Sun and Province, Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald, Windsor Star, Edmonton Journal, Regina Leader-Post, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, Montreal Gazette, and

Here's a few of the last two weeks' crop of Postmedia stories that "CAPP needs to bring to the forefront of Canadian consciousness".  If you only scanned the headlines, you might mistake them for actual news : 

"This story was produced by Postmedia’s advertising department on behalf of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers for commercial purposes." 
Here's a bonus one from CIBC :

Skilled trades shortage in Alberta a tremendous opportunity for new and growing businesses
"This story was produced by Postmedia’s advertising department in collaboration with CIBC to promote awareness of this topic for commercial purposes."  

Then it was the Globe and Mail's turn. Currently the G&M staff are threatening strike action over this :

Leaked memo confirms Globe and Mail wants journalists to write advertorials
Globe executives want to monetize the integrity and reputations of The Globe and Mail’s journalists – the same award-winning reporters and editors that management proudly (and rightly) claims are vital to the enterprise’s future as a powerful, independent, fearless and profitable news organization. 
Under the company proposal, editorial staff would be assigned to write or produce advertiser sponsored “branded content” (i.e. native advertising) that is vetted by the advertiser prior to publication and held out to readers as staff-written content.
That content cannot offend a paying advertiser’s specific opinions and corporate interests or it will be changed. 
This proposal was presented to us by editorial management and has been vetted by the Editor-in-Chief. 
That would be Editor-in-Chief David Walmsley, recently busted for portraying his own published endorsement of teabaggin' Tim Hudak for premier of Ontario as the choice of the G&M editorial board :
The Globe's editorial board endorses Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives
when in fact the G&M editorial board had endorsed Kathleen Wynn instead.

So ... where are you getting your news lately?


The Mound of Sound said...

Terrific, Alison. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. It's pretty disappointing that print journalism seems to be becoming (or already is?) an extension of PR companies. I do read the G&M occasionally. I'm glad the reporters there are standing up for themselves.

MyPetGloat said...

The National Post's front page is now mostly punditry. Harper lapdog John Ivison is frequently a headliner on the front page. News and investigative reporting is secondary to wingnut bloviating.

Recently, the Vancouver Sun and Province have leased their front pages - the entire front page - to advertisers. They've fired most of their journalists and reporters and hired "fresh out of broadcasting school" interns. They lease column space to the Koch Brothers-funded Fraser Institute and Enbridge lobbyists. You'd have to be dumber than a stump to be a subscriber of either of these so-called newspapers.

MyPetGloat said...

P.S. Yours is one of the best political blogs. I so appreciate the investigative work you do and how you connect the dots.

Anonymous said...

I am presently reading a very interesting book titled "Necessary Illusions" by Noam Chomsky. It was published in1989. Its subtitle is "Thought Control in Democratic Societies." Here is a paragraph from page 10.
"Case by case,we find that conformity is the easy way, and the path to privilege and prestige; dissidence carries personal costs that may be severe, even in a society that lacks such means of control as death squads, psychiatric prisons, or extermination camps. The very structure of the media is designed to induce conformity to established doctrine. In a 3 minute stretch between commercials, ir in700 hundred words, it is impossible to present unfamiliar thoughts or surprising conclusions with the argument and evidence required to afford them some credibility. Regurgitation of welcome pieties faces no such problem."

Alison said...

Mound o' Sound sighting! Good to see you still stick your oar in at Lorne's from time to time.

Anon@8:32 : Print journalism as an extension of PR companies is already not working for them because it makes readers more distrustful, which in turn means newspapers increasingly lack the credibility that PR companies want to exploit and advertisers want to buy. Very bad business model.

My Pet Gloat : Thanks for your kind words.

Robert Fisk was certainly appalled a couple of weeks ago to see a full page ad in NaPo under the headline “Almost 4 million Canadians are afflicted by this disease” - which turned out to be anti-Semitism and please send more money. Not the first time they've pulled this shit either.

Ricochet looks like a promising alternative model though.

Anon@6:47 : I've heard Chomsky talk about this as well. I agree a combination of media gatekeeping and conformity is the norm but it's also true the human mind gets bored with the platitudes and pieties rumbling through the middle of the herd and will leap up to hear something different.
Also I'm pretty sure people half my age are picking up messages the old stories in my own head keep me from hearing.

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