Friday, January 22, 2010

More on the Spadea controversy

The web site Oregon Media Central has a solid report by Mitch Nolan on the machinations at The Oregonian regarding recent front page spadea ads opposing Measures 66 and 67.

Seems that at one point the Oregonian's ad department informed the "No" campaign's ad buyers that wrap-around spadea are off-limits to political content. It was new publisher Chris Anderson who opened the gates to essentially front-page political display ads.

What we have is the odd scenario of the the director of ad sales and marketing, Mario van Dongen, maintaining the fire wall between advertising and editorial while a publisher is tearing it down.

Oregon Media Central quotes van Dongen as opposing political spadeas because "a political ad might take advantage of the placement and make it look like it's a newspaper statement."

Exactly. Especially when the ad's content banners the paper's editorial position.

By the way, Anderson is quoted as saying he believes that if the spadea had favored the two measures, rather than opposing them, there wouldn't be such an outcry.

Perhaps, but Anderson misses the point. This is about journalistic integrity. So far, Anderson seems tone-deaf on the topic.

Note in passing: If you think this is bad, wait until the Big Money is unleashed this fall, thanks to yesterday's Supreme Court decision. Expect a plague of political spadea — and, Mr. Anderson, a mass exodus of Oregonian subscribers.

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Anonymous Barbara Hansen said...

I so agree. Mr Anderson's debut is bad news for all of us.

8:15 AM  

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