Native advertising vs editorial independence… can’t we all just get along?


I’m normally a huge fan of John Oliver (his segments on gun control were inspired…) but after watching this video, he came off sounding like one of those typical left-wing idealists we all hate …fine, the majority of us hate (I know there are some insipid Greens voters out there who’ll agree 100% with what he’s saying… you know who you are).

Anyway, my main gripe with this is that on the one hand, John Oliver says that “America has always had a proud tradition of a free and independent press” yet on the other hand lambasts the industry for looking to advertisers to fill the revenue gap that comes from dwindling circulation and readership without offering his solution to how this can be fixed.

Also, for some reason he uses BuzzFeed as an example of where native advertising is encroaching on editorial independence… Seriously… BuzzFeed. *sigh* Any credible news organisation has a set of editorial guidelines it must follow (for example, the Fairfax Media Charter of Editorial Independence) to ensure there is a separation between editorial and advertising. However, what this segment fails to do is distinguish between news media and lifestyle media – they just lump them all into one.

Hypothetically, if we were to pitch a “the best weekend getaways” piece for RACV Resorts to The Age and Good Weekend, without a doubt the Age would refuse, but Good Weekend might be up for it. That’s because this story actually appeals to the content Good Weekend normally creates as a lifestyle brand. If it’s mutually beneficial for all parties (and by all parties I also mean the readers) I see no problem with it. I also don’t see a problem with it being integrated as part of editorial *cue gasps*.

In short, John Oliver should get off his HBO high-horse and take a leaf out of Charles Darwin’s book: “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”.


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