According to Jim Rainey at the LA Times, the station has begun running paid ads from the City of Hope Medical Center but presenting them with logos and branding that makes the ads look like they're a part of the newscast.
In other words, the line between editorial and advertising had been obscured again — with the hospital getting a nice chance to showcase a couple of its top people in a format that looked like news but was actually paid advertising.Rainey says the blurry lines are nothing new to television news and its advertising plans:
When TV advertising managers go out to sell 30-second spots to potential clients, they sometimes offer a valuable added incentive: a news story. Buy an ad and suddenly you and your company can make the real news.
They call it "added value" advertising. The advertiser gets the "added value" of seeing its company flattered on programs that, at least nominally, are supposed to feature the most important events of the day. It's easy, it's synergistic, it's win-win … at least for the television station and the advertiser.