EDITORíS DESK: Crass commercialism
Possibly the most delicate subject in the journalistic realm is advertising. Its separation from the news side of a
publication is possibly more sacrosanct than that of church from state. Possibly to drive home this point, my college journalism
classes never even mentioned advertising. (Neither did they teach me how to take rapid notes or cover government meetings,
but that's another subject.)
Of course, the big concern is that if the news side gets chummy with a business that advertises, next thing you know it's writing stories that are slanted in favor of said business. Not that I disagree with this precept, but obviously the pious characters who preach it never published their own newspapers. Hey, we NEED advertising. It pays the bills. Hello, businesses out there? We like you. Give us a call... today! As for you gentle readers, start shopping with our advertisers... also today. And tell 'em the Pioneer sent you! Oh yeah, and by the way, the day has yet to come - after 30-odd years in this trade - when a business person pushes me for a biased article. All people anywhere really want is that the writing be accurate and fair and their names spelled right.
So why do I bring this up? Because the real issue with advertising, I've found, is not this church-state thing, but competition with other papers. One bunch out there accuses us of dissing their publication to sell our ads (not so); another has started systematically calling all our advertisers (including classifieds), in hopes of luring them from us. In telling you of these matters, I do not ask for pity. But I (or rather, our financial department) will gladly take a nice ad.