The curtains have dropped off newspapers. Disgruntled former reporters are exposing the unethical packaging of the news. Did you think something was funny going on?
The new car, real estate and travel sections of daily newspapers are actually fully funded by the advertisers.
The Toronto Star Wheels section is a giant advertorial for the newspaper – two or sometimes three sections each Saturday, running, on average, 26 pages of advertising and 10 pages of editorial copy. (Those two figures overlap, of course – editorial and pagecounts can be distributed over the same printed sheets.)
Wheels writers are often jetted off to exotic destinations for superexclusive new-car previews, with all expenses paid by automakers. You can safely assume everyone is flown business class, put up in four-star hotels, and plied with numerous goodie bags. The whole enterprise is flatly an unethical journalistic practice, in which corporations, many of which advertise in the paper, indirectly pay for coverage.
The Star admits it’s unethical, but also admits it is too profitable to pass up.
Is the editorial integrity of the Wheels section undermined when the newspaper agrees to accept free trips and hold back information about the cars its writers have previewed? The simple answer to the question… is yes. […]
It doesn’t stop there. Check out the Saturday and Sunday New Homes sections. No stories about a real estate bubble years ago. Instead, you read, “Now is the best time to buy a new custom home.”
Next, turn to the Travel section. Aren’t stories about cruise ships over represented? What about rip-off hotels? Never.