the news/advertising divide

Newspapers have traditionally kept the line clear between editorial and advertising, with recent scandals at the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post attributed to unseemly connections between the two.  The Dallas Morning News will have some of its section editors in sports and entertainment report directly to sales managers.  Although for now, the news departments will not follow this route, the pattern seems clear enough once the precedent is set.  As the Times analyst Richard Lopez-Pena reports:

Loren Ghiglione, a professor of media ethics at the Medill School ofNorthwestern University, said the need to sell ads had always helped shape news coverage — papers have created or eliminated entire sections on that basis — “but this does seem to me to take it to a slightly different level. It strikes me as at least creating a perception issue,” he said, “when you have, in effect, sales managers managing news personnel.”

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