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Sponsored content/native advertising

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sprclogoFoundations_mainEthical guidelines
In the last several years, commercial media have faced a new kind of paid content — “native advertising” or “sponsored content.” The goal with this content is to provide advertising in a way that mimics the look and style of news/editorial content instead of appearing as traditional advertising. This style of advertising has raised serious ethical issues and discussion.

Given the influx of this type of advertising and its spread into scholastic media, students should remember their obligation to keep their communities aware of what kind of content they are publishing. Communities need to know the type content they are exposed to so they can make informed and rational decisions.

Staff manual process
Student staffs should retain the right to publish or not publish  “native advertising” or “sponsored content” just like they would for any other advertising so long as the decision is viewpoint neutral.

  • If students decide to run such materials, they should develop a statement for that clearly explains what it is, why it is being presented and how audiences can expect it to appear. This should be included in each publishing.
  • Appearance guidelines could include such statements as:
    • Ads should run in a different font and point size from all other text.
    • Ads should be clearly labeled at the top of each article and/or the top of the page, indicating who paid for the ad.
    • Ads should include identification at the bottom of the piece explaining what paid content is and why it is being used.
    • If the material comes camera- or website-ready, then clear separation from other content is essential.

Resources:
Making Memories, One Lie at a Time (example of native ad), Slate Web magazine
New York Times Tones Down Labeling on Its Sponsored Posts, Advertising Age
Native Advertising Examples: 5 or the Best (and Worst), WordStream Online Advertising
The Native Advertising Playbook, Interactive Advertising Bureau
Audio: Sponsored Content, JEA Scholastic Press Rights Committee, Press Rights Minute
PR Giant Edelman Calls for Ethics in Sponsored Content, Forbes
FTC: Publishers Will Be Held Responsible for Misleading native Ads, Adexchanger.com

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