Advertising…meet Editorial

December 17, 2008 at 2:37 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I was surprised to see the topic of advertorials in our lesson this week. Our final lesson discusses ethical lines within new media IMC. Advertorials are a subject of ethics? Honestly, I was recently introduced to advertorials and in fact even more recently faced to writing them! If you are unfamiliar with what an advertorial is, think a cross between an ad and editorial. The biggest factor is that the company, not advertiser, is writing the advertorial and has paid for it to be included (i.e. in a magazine).


This quote offers insight into the change in advertising over the years:

Not too many years ago, news was news, ads were ads, and the two met only where the news hole ended and the ad stack began. Our journalism school professors and newsroom mentors preached the importance of separating news and ads. They told us that our credibility was on the line, that advertising should never influence or mix with news, that readers had to be able to distinguish between unbiased information and paid content…Then came advertorials.
— Scott Angus, editor of The Janesville (WI) Gazette & president of the Wisconsin Associated Press editors group

Our lesson describes it as “an ad designed to deliver the experience of reading an article” (Ramos, 2008). But is that unethical? I don’t think I understand where the experts are coming from. Last week I had to write an advertorial for work. We publish a lot of them in niche publications where we have ads running; they are usually an added bonus that the publications sales rep has offered us. This one I referred to a previous advertorial included in the prior year’s issue and referenced other documents internal to my company to write it. We did not include any pictures because of size limitations. Take a look at it. I included it into this post. Does this look unethical? It is an article written by APUS about APUS for consumers to get a better idea of what APUS is; it is a supplement to our ad that may not answer questions the consumer has.



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