The Union and its parent crank up “sponsored content”

More and more newspapers are turning to the sponsored content “in the face of continued contraction of print revenue,” as the media “think tank” Poynter Institute observes.

One of them is Swift Communications, parent of The Union. “Many of Swift’s newspapers are heavily composed of paid advertorial ‘sponsored content,'” according to Wikipedia.

The Union, for example, is running more sponsored content (The Union’s paid columnist George Boardman has called this kind of content “fake journalism”). An example is here, here and here.

I’ve often seen The Union mix its “sponsored content” with its news articles on Facebook, blurring the line between articles and advertising.

I would like to see The Union address this issue with its readers.

Some people (including Boardman) seem to confuse sponsored content with feature stories, but it not the same. In the case of “sponsored content,” an advertiser pays for an article instead of an ad. For a newspaper, it presents a mixed message and conflict of interest to readers.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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