Philly paper defends decision to let bank sponsor biz column
The publisher and the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer defended their decision to allow a local bank to sponsor a column in the business section, saying that the bank will have no influence on the content, according to an Associated Press story.
Deborah Yao wrote, “[Editor Bill] Marimow contended that the column can’t be compared to the Staples situation because there is no revenue-sharing arrangement with Citizens Bank, which is a unit of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.
“He said Citizens Bank’s sponsorship would be similar to an arrangement the paper has with Commerce Bank, which sponsors a news summary page. The summary, printed daily on the back of the sports section, is called ‘Inquirer Express’ and debuted in February.
“‘Commerce Bank has no influence … on what goes into that page,’ Marimow said.
“But there’s a big difference between sponsorship of a summary page featuring a variety of news items and a business column sponsored by a local business, said Kelly McBride, who runs the ethics department at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“‘In the news summary, the content is generally broader and it would be harder to influence,’ she said. ‘Business and banking are very closely intertwined.’
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