Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspaper Apologizes: Offers Free Ads

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspaper Apologizes: Offers Free Ads

Article excerpt

BELIEVE IT OR not: Complaints by auto dealers in Minnesota over a Minneapolis Star Tribune article on dealerships resulted in an apology by the paper.

The consumer article, which gave readers the ins and outs of dealerships and new vehicle purchases, ran June 4. Five days later, the Star Tribune issued a letter of apology to the Greater Metropolitan Automobile Dealers Association of Minnesota Inc., saying it "erred in not doing our own local reporting on this story and for the cartoon that was based on it," The problem stemmed from generalities in the article, originally published in the New York Post and picked off the wire by the Star Tribune, that did not ring true for Minnesota dealerships, said Tim J. McGuire, Star Tribune editor and senior vice president of new media. Incorrect facts included those dealing with disclosure laws. The references in the article conflicted with laws in Minnesota.

"In certain coverage areas each local market is unique" wrote McGuire in his letter to GMADA. "For example, it is apparent in this local auto market steps have been taken to develop ethical standards."

Shortly after the snafu, the Star Tribune advertising department offered GMADA eight free quarter pages to promote the auto industry.

However, the gesture was not an attempt to salve GMADA's wound, insisted Tom Mohr, Star Tribune senior vice president and general manager of the advertising department.

"What we did with the space is not linked to what we do on the news side," Mohr said. …

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