Advertising in news reporting


Product placement isn’t a new concept in advertising.

Most of us see the giant Coca-Cola glasses in front of “The Voice” judges — that are most definitely not inconspicuous- and accept it for what it is. But would people be more sensitive to product placement or advertising in general if it were integrated into our news?

There was a time where advertisements made up a majority of the newspapers. Those who could read would grab a paper and the lead story may very well be that Greg is finally selling his old goat. Well maybe not; but the point is over time we have moved into wanting to know less about what our neighbors are selling and more about what is going on in the world around us.

We also have evolved to wanting our news to be honest. By this, I mean most people want their news in its purest form, unscathed by other opinions or influence. We want the facts.

However, advertising could be creeping its way back into our news sources.

I’ve noticed a trend in online news reporting where a company will tag its name onto a story. For example, you will read “insert headline here: brought to you by T-Mobile.” A tag line like this is to be expected from cites like Buzzfeed, maybe the Huffington Post; But CNN?

As a student majoring in advertising, I admire the idea to sponsor a news article. Especially for T-Mobile to sponsor one focused on technology and cell phones; it’s a great way to reach their target audience. However as a journalist student I don’t know if I support the advertisement. I think by having a company sponsor an article news and advertising move towards becoming too intertwined.

If the two begin to mesh more I can see problems with people not being able to distinguish facts from exaggerated advertising, or the message of the news being lessened by the distraction of an advertising campaign.

In my opinion, while the tag lines don’t seem to be an issue now, the integration of ads and actual news articles could lead to issues and will be an interesting development to follow.