OLD Media Moves

Steiger addresses Chinese wall with advertising after story

December 29, 2006

Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger has had to address concerns among the journalists at the paper after the Journal ran a story earlier this month about jet ownership that mentioned a number of the paper’s advertisers, Women’s Wear Daily reported.

Wall Street JournalIrin Carmon wrote, “The Wall Street Journal is clearly still learning the potential pitfalls of lifestyle journalism. A story on fractional jet ownership in the Dec. 13 Personal Journal section caused several staffers, including senior editors, to cry foul and resulted in managing editor Paul Steiger having to defend that the piece didn’t breach the paper’s historically strict ethical standards between editorial and advertising.

“The article, ‘Crunch Time for Fractional Jet Owners,’ by Candace Jackson, started on the section’s front page, below the fold, and reported on how fractional jet ownership companies were ‘struggling to keep up with surging demand.’ Then the perceived hiccup occurred: Four fractional jet companies advertised on the page to which Jackson’s article jumped — and three of the advertisers were mentioned in the article, among others.

“While visiting the Washington bureau a few days after the story appeared, Steiger heard enough complaints to raise the issue at his regular 4 p.m. news meeting and conference call, which a source said lasted about twice the normal duration. There, the managing editor defended the practice, noting the piece had been reported, written and edited independently, without knowledge of which companies would advertise.”

Read more here.

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