Is This What the News is Coming to?
News content and stories should never be influenced or manipulated by advertisers or sponsors. Allowing those who pay for advertising or those who sponsor news stations and papers to have a say so in what goes on with the news as far as content really draws the line and crosses the boundary of the job that journalists are supposed to do.
Advertisers and sponsors have their own agenda and when news organizations allow them to partake in content, their agenda will eventually show through. People already do not seem to trust the news as much as they did in the past and by allowing businesses, big or small, to influence the news further hinders the public perspective of news organizations having transparency and reporting stories that the public needs to hear.
Rock and a Hard Place
News organizations seem to be in a difficult position when it comes to writing stories about advertisers and sponsors. News organizations are essentially struggling when it comes to funding due to the many resources that people can go to and get their news for free. News outlets have not yet found a set way to get funding through means other than advertising and in essence no organization wants to upset or harm the reputation of the advertiser who is allowing them to function and stay in business. But, as journalists it is our duty to have no bias, remain transparent, and report the truth when it comes to issues dealing with our sponsors even if it may damage the advertiser’s reputation and, thereby putting funding in jeopardy.
A Big No No
In the article, “The Squeeze” by Russ Baker, Chrysler Corporation’s ad agency sent a letter to the magazines that it provides advertising stating that the corporation must receive a written summary about major themes and articles in upcoming issues. This is unacceptable if the publication decides to disclose this summary to the corporation and then change parts of the article because of “discomfort” or word that the corporation is not pleased with the article. This act would completely discredit the news outlet and make me wonder why they were even in the news business.
But, on the other hand, if some news organizations decide to comply with this request, it would be okay as long as they still continued to stick with the story and not change it from its original form. In that sense, the summary could possibly be a warning to corporations allowing them to prepare for articles that deal with their entity.