Wall Street Journal managing editor Gerard Baker warned Tuesday of the dangers of “native advertising,” a buzzword these days describing the practice of presenting brand-generated content in the style of editorial, reports Joe Pompeo of Capital New York.
Pompeo writes, “‘The clear delineation between news and advertising is becoming more and more blurred. We have to resist that,’ he told a crowd at New York University’s journalism school, before describing the deals many publishers are making with advertisers as a ‘Faustian pact.’
“‘It’s also in the end I think self-defeating for these advertisers, most of whom now are trying to force news organizations to do this,’ he said.
“‘An advertiser wants to advertise in The Wall Street Journal to be seen and to be associated with a brand like The Wall Street Journal, or The Financial Times or Bloomberg, because those news organizations are respected. If [advertisers] manipulate the digital or print operations of those news organizations, it makes the reader confused as to what is news and what is advertising, and the reader’s trust, the very reason that those advertisers want to advertise in those news organizations, goes away.’
“Native advertising is of course not an entirely new creature. Most print publications have programs where inserts or a few pages are taken over by advertisers, though the content is usually labeled ‘ADVERTISEMENT’ and there are often ground rules about the extent to which the packages can look and feel like the editorial content presented elsewhere in the publication.”
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