Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sponsored Editorial Part II

In the part I of my blog on sponsored editorial I looked at the history and negative aspects of it. Here I will examine the whys and hows of sponsored editorial.

The most obvious reason for doing it is to bring in additional revenue. This can be especially important to a small publication, radio station, t.v. station or Internet publication. However any size media will appreciate additional revenue.

The Guardian News & Media of Great Britain says, "These [sponsored] supplements are a valued source of revenue and allows us to explore in depth than editorial budgets would otherwise allow..."

So what are some general guidelines for dealing with sponsored editorial? Radio and t.v. stations should not do voice overs. Using sponsored content without attribution undermines the creditability of the station doing this. Opponents call this "fake news".

Related to this is what Australia's Nursing Review has this to say about the handling of sponsored editorial, "The layout, design and text of advertorials must be distinctly different from those of the publication." Some, like, say that no member of the editorial staff may be involved in putting together sponsored editorial.

Single or limited sponsorship can limit the media's ability to cover a story and can dictate directly or indirectly what stories may or may not be covered and how a story is covered. Probably the best way to handle this is to go for the clearly sponsored program or section. The airline industry has done this for years. Some companies also sponsor a magazine or t.v. show. Two examples of this are Westjet's Up Magazine and Costco's The Costco Connection, both of whom I've written for.

There's a lot more that could be said about the does and don'ts of sponsored journalism, but that will have to wait for another time.

On a sad note, I just learned that one of my favorite magazines, which I have occassionally written for, Harrowsmith, ceased publication July 25th after 35 years. The magazine treated writers reasonably well and provided a unique Canadian voice to country life. It will be solely missed and I wish the staff well in finding new jobs.

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