Apr 10, 2009

Fake news generates real coverage

The Los Angeles Times ran a real story in today's business section about a fake story that made yesterday's front-page touting a new NBC television show called Southland.

I'd never heard of Southland until this dust up, which indicates to me that the ad has proven to be fairly effective. I wonder how much of the "significant premium" Publisher Eddy Hartenstein charged NBC for A1 placement went toward the predictable controversy and the media attention that be generated as a result?

A journalism professor tells the Times why fake news stories are ethically troubling:
"It's unwise and ethically problematic to have advertising morph into news content and style," said Bob Steele, a journalism values scholar at the Poynter Institute and a professor at DePauw University. "Each step may seem like a small one. But each time you cut a corner, you create weakness in the overall product."
And expect more controversy, and more media attention, from another ad in the Times for another dramatic production:
Staff members also objected to an advertising supplement scheduled to run with Sunday's Calendar section. The four-page section promotes the film "The Soloist," which is based on a series of articles by Times columnist Steve Lopez. Although labeled as an ad supplement, the section's typography and layout mimic those of a regular Times news section.
LAT, LAO, fishbowlLA, WSJ, NYT

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