The hardtracking staff rarely has anything good to say about native advertising, those ads in sheep’s clothing that trick out marketing material as editorial content.

But here’s the exception that proves the rule.

From FishbowlNY:

 

Daily News Secretary Earns Kudos for Handling of Newspaper’s Advertorials

Rhonda Roland Shearer, publisher and editor-in-chief of iMediaEthics.org, has announced the inaugural winners of the site’s Ethical Acts in Journalism Awards. The goal, this year and beyond, is to highlight worthy behind-the-scenes actions by editors and administrative employees.

All six 2013 winners are impressive, but the one that caught FishbowlNY’s eye is New York Daily News confidential secretary Miranda Walker. iMediaEthics went to her after they got no response from the paper’s advertising department about the lack of proper labeling of advertorial content . . .

 

But they did get a response from Walker.

 

Miranda Walker, Confidential Secretary, in the top administrative office at The New York Daily News was contacted by iMediaEthics about our getting no response in the advertising department regarding the need for proper labeling of certain ongoing advertorials published by the Daily News. Walker obviously took action and worked behind the scenes after our complaints (we can not say nor do we know how; she only told us she would look into the problem and sounded concerned). See Gif below. It shows an example of a Daily News ad that had no label to distinguish it from news, a violation of FTC rules, which is later slapped with a bold font “Advertisement” label. Because she dealt with it and the problems were solved, iMediaEthics never reported what would have been several negative stories about the Daily News. So we have no story to link to.

 

 

Walker, with the Daily News for 14 years, is given an Ethical Acts in Journalism Award for dedication to her newspaper and actions taken so Daily News readers recognize the vital difference between advertising and editorial content in the recurring ads we flagged to her.

 

So there may be hope yet, yeah?

Uhhh . . . all due respect to Miranda Walker, probably not.

UPDATE: You may remember Rhonda Roland Shearer from her 2002 rumpus with Atlantic magazine writer/author William Langewiesche over his book American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center. As Joe Hagan wrote in the New York Observer at the time, “Ms. Shearer, a 48-year-old artist and the widow of the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, is on a personal crusade to debunk Mr. Langewiesche’s reportage, derail his Pulitzer hopes, and see the book recalled and destroyed.”

Whether that dustup enhances or erodes Shearer’s Media Ethics credibility we’ll leave for you to decide.


John R. Carroll, who also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town, is a media analyst and mass communication professor at Boston University.
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