I work for Cision, a global pr/marketing software company. We are looking for sites who have “sponsored content” opportunities, much like advertorials. I was hoping you could tell me whether you and your site The Dish accept sponsored content written by or for brands. If you do, I would love to learn about how much you charge, get your contact information, and get a better understanding of the program so that I can pass that information on to the 10,000 clients of Cision. Thank you for your time.
Meanwhile, David Carr finds a web ad guru who is beginning to wonder whether “sponsored content” might be a mistake for journalism, paving the way for its destruction:
“I completely understand the value of native advertising,” Mr. McCambley said, “but there are a number of publishers who are allowing P.R. firms and advertising agencies direct access to their content management systems and allowing them to publish directly to the site. I think that is a huge mistake. “It is a very slippery slope and could kill journalism if publishers aren’t careful,” he said.
He’s right. Publishers might build a revenue ledge through innovation of the advertising format, but the confusion that makes it work often diminishes the host publication’s credibility.
Business models that treat journalism as a tool primarily for advertisers will kill journalism in the end. Because I mean by journalism not a platform for entertaining corporate-sponsored listicles, but an established fourth estate that readers trust as independent, transparent, and truth-seeking. If journalism is so enmeshed in selling things that ads and editorial are one hard-to-define mush, then its core value – independent editorial judgment – is inevitably debased.
Of course, this may not matter to those who, like the business geniuses behind Forbes, Buzzfeed, the Atlantic et al, are concerned above all with profits. Journalism, for many of them, is just a means to money. Which means, if they keep calling the shots, journalism is in danger of disappearing quietly, like a law repealing itself.
Update from a reader:
A point of clarification about that contact from Cision. That was most likely not a marketing message. Cision maintains a online database of information about media outlets, including online sites. Included in that database of information would be confirmation if that site accepts sponsored content. People like me use that information to determine if we can approach an outlet to place sponsored content. They were probably contacting you just to update their database.