It’s no secret that the traditional wall between editorial and advertising is more like a picket fence in fashion publications. Marketers and editors have long played footsie with each other, with fashion coverage and fashion ads endlessly crisscrossing on print and web pages.

But an outfit called The Daily Front Row has taken the largely unspoken quid pro clothes and introduced it to the publishing world – via loudspeaker.

From Alexandra Steigrad in WWD (tip o’ the pixel to Racked):

THE DAILY FRONT ROW’S PAY FOR PLAY: Fashion tabloid The Daily Front Row has begun employing a pay-for-play strategy, WWD has learned. Business-side representatives from The DFR have approached publishers with a deal: Namely, the DFR’s reporters will write stories if they purchase advertisements in the paper. The tabloid has ramped up this aggressive approach since 2014, according to sources with knowledge of such transactions.

Steigrad’s piece includes some telling details: “For example, Condé Nast Traveler publisher Bill Wackermann gave the paper a ‘Hampton’s How-to,’ puff interview. Similar stories are pitched to publishers to feature their Hamptons parties or homes with the not-so-tacit understanding that they will buy an ad in exchange.”

Not-so-tacit. Nice.

Here’s the Hamptons puff piece.

Bill Wackermann’s Hamptons How-To

Condé Nast Traveler’s EVP and publishing director, Bill Wackermann knows a thing or two about vacationing like a pro. His off-duty M.O.? Bopping from town to town, basking in the sun, and loading up on beer and tacos.

Mode of Transport: “Behind the wheel of a Range Rover in traffic on 27, like everyone else.”

Traffic Tip: “Get off 27 before Water Mill or you’re toast.”

Pit Stop: “I’m 100 percent Hess-obsessed: Power bars, Diet Coke, The New York Post, and a Chase ATM. I could live there.”


It almost goes without saying that The DFR does not label the bought editorial “sponsored content.” That would be so . . . inelegant.

Not to mention counterproductive.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, this is just one pitseleh website that’s abandoning all pretense of journalistic integrity. But the more consumers ho-hum the auctioning off of editorial content, the more editorial content will be auctioned off.

Man seeks his own downfall, the ancient Greeks said. So, apparently, does media.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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