OLD Media Moves

WaMu biz story wrapped up in ad supplement

March 14, 2006

Monday’s Chicago Sun-Times had an advertising supplement from Washington Mutual wrapped around the paper to make it look as if there was a story about Seattle-based WaMu in the paper.

Interestingly, there WAS an article about Washington Mutual’s push in the Chicago market in the business section of the paper, which caused some confusion among people as well as ethical concerns.

Chicago Sun-TimesGregory Meyer of Crain’s Chicago Business wrote: “According to Aly Colón, a journalism and ethics teacher at the Poynter Institute, a journalism education center in St. Petersburg, Fla., combining the ad wrap and the news story has the potential to raise questions in readers’ minds about the relationship between editorial and advertising content.

“‘It’s at least, on first blush, a confusing kind of combination,’ he said.

“The front page of the wrap includes items such as ‘Weather’ and a teaser for poll results from the ‘University of Somewhere Nice’ on the inside cover.

“The wrap is also labeled ‘Compliments of WaMu’ and, in smaller letters, ‘Special Advertising Wrap.’

“About 100 Washington Mutual representatives wore yellow bank jackets on Chicago streets Monday and handed out copies of the wrapped paper to pedestrians, spokesman Shane Winn said. The bank bought the newspapers from the Sun-Times in what is called a ‘sponsored bulk sample.'”

According to the Sun-Times publisher, the editorial department had no idea about the advertising supplement.

Read the Crain’s story here.

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