The Separation of Church and State
As the media director for EGC, I often find myself explaining the “separation of church and state” as it relates to media. Typically, media outlets draw a clear line between paid advertising and editorial. It is difficult-if not impossible-to receive added value/bonus editorial mention in most of our media partners’ vehicles (newspapers we buy print ads in, news programs on stations we buy TV spots, online news sites we buy banner ads on, etc).
This separation is done to help preserve the integrity of the news outlet, and to refrain from showing specific bias toward paid advertisers and against those that choose not to provide the outlet with advertising income. It’s a free world—anyone can pay to advertise in a media vehicle. On the other side, editorial content should be driven by the value of the story, reader/viewer interest, etc.
This separation came to mind as I read this article today (http://libn.com/thetechnofile/2009/08/31/cablevision-boots-fios-ads-from-newsday/) about Cablevision/Newsday, based here on Long Island. News broke today that Cablevision, who owns Newsday, has officially made notice that Verizon (Cablevision’s biggest competitor) is not welcome to run advertising for its television and online services in Newsday.
To be perfectly fair, it is the right of any media outlet to accept or reject any advertiser. This often happens if the advertising is offensive, or diametrically opposed to the values of the outlet and its followers. My question is… is that what happened here? Is there some offensive objection to Verizon’s advertising? Newsday’s representatives did not comment on that in their response. They just noted that they, like every major newspaper, reserve the right to reject advertising at their discretion.
As the media director at EGC, I believe in putting your message where it will reach the people who might be interested in what you have to say. Newsday is an appropriate vehicle for Verizon to achieve those goals. Did the people at Cablevision realize this too, and cross a sacred media line?
I’m interested to hear what you think, and what the feedback across LI will be. Is this perfectly acceptable? After all, they say all is fair in love and war... and business…