Magazine article The Quill

Web Site's Ad Policy Draws SPJ Ethics Commendation

Magazine article The Quill

Web Site's Ad Policy Draws SPJ Ethics Commendation

Article excerpt

July 24

SPJ commended The New York Times Web site for refusing to accept Sony Electronics Web advertisements designed to look like news content.

According to AdAge.com, the Sony ads were written by free-lancers and read like news features, with sidebars to Sony's Web site. The editorial-like format makes it difficult to determine whether the information is an advertisement or news.

"The New York Times Web site is to be commended for rejecting the Sony ads," said SPJ Ethics Chairman Gary Hill, director of investigations & special segments at KSTP-TV in Minneapolis. "As online publishing continues to grow and evolve, professional journalists need their institutions to maintain bright clear lines between advertising and editorial content."

According to the Ad Age story, Sony freely admits it is trying to do the opposite: "We're trying to blur the line between the advertising and editorial boundary," said David Cohen, senior vice president and interactive media director on Sony at Interpublic Group of Cos: Universal McCann. …

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