Media Moves

Philly biz column to be sponsored by bank

April 16, 2007

Posted by Chris Roush

A new column in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s business section about small, publicly traded companies in the area will be sponsored by a bank, according to a story in Monday’s paper.

Philadelphia InquirerStacy Burling wrote, “Starting tomorrow, Inquirer readers will see ads in the bottom right corner of the front page. And, beginning April 30, a new advertising format purchased by Citizens Bank will debut on the front of the weekday Business sections. It will include a Citizens Bank ad across the bottom of the page and another smaller ad in the top corner.

“In a more unusual arrangement, a Citizens Bank label will run with a new column produced by Inquirer writers and editors. Some of the revenue from the ads will be used to hire an editor for the column, which will focus on short news items about local, publicly traded companies. The new feature will be boxed in green, Citizens Bank’s color.

“Media experts said yesterday that the branded column could be confusing to readers.

“While there’s nothing inherently wrong with sponsorship of editorial content, it can create the perception of advertiser influence, or the real thing, said Jill Geisler, who teaches ethics at the Poynter Institute, a St. Petersburg, Fla., school for journalists. Editorial independence is a core journalistic value.”

Read more here.

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