UK: “Advertorial” filling columns
The Independent reports that British papers are regularly using articles that hide advertisements in their text. Free Features Ltd., launched last year, provides articles that can be downloaded for free by any paper, as long as they agree to include information from a corporate sponsor. At no time is any part of the article designated as an advertisement. Sounds iffy, but about 400 regional papers have already signed up for the service. Carol Driver, editor of a small free-sheet, sees no problem with using Free Features and says that “It’s definitely not about just grabbing something to fill a page.” But Rod Allen, head of the journalism department at City University thinks otherwise, saying “I’m disgusted that editors buy into the idea. Even if you choose articles carefully, it can’t be editorially sound if someone else is paying for it.”
Via Editor's weblog.