Departure of trust

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It’s a sad but necessary sign of the times when the line between advertisement and editorial content starts to blur.

A recent front page splash of the Atlantic website features a story written by an IBM employee about cloud computing — a story that IBM paid the Atlantic to publish.

Of course advertorials aren’t uncommon in the print media world. Most print publications, such as fashion magazines and even newspapers, publish editorial sections with sponsored content and have been doing so for years.

What is worrisome, however, is the use of this sort of content on the front splash of their webpage.

This is an explicit step back from what readers value in publications such as the Atlantic.

Integrity, fact-checking and a lack of external influence on content categorize the objective, unbiased news that we all expect to consume. For many of us, the idea of an advertorial contradicts what we see to be the value of journalism and news.

It’s sad to see these values being compromised for the sake of earning a quick buck.

Deceiving readers by publishing a covertly biased piece shouldn’t be the way to go.

It’s true that print circulation and subscriptions are diminishing across the board and publications are struggling to stay in the black, but journalistic quality shouldn’t suffer because of this.

Hopefully, editorial content in well-respected, high-quality publications won’t be increasingly replaced by advertorials.

It would be refreshing to see publications trying out other methods to earn more money.

For example, while increasing advertising space reduces the physical amount of editorial content in a publication, it’s a more honest and explicit option for increasing revenue.

Let’s hope this trend towards front-page advertorials doesn’t continue. Compromising objective reporting shouldn’t be the default — it should be a last resort.

— Journal Editorial Board

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