Tribune Co.'s ever-vigilant innovation chief wonders why advertorials have to be called "special advertising sections." Well, Lee, itís because they're really ads posing as news and feature stories. As an editor, I recall insisting that the ad section designation include a disclaimer at the bottom of the first page indicating that the material was not prepared by the newsroom. That seems like a long time ago. Here's a snippet from a recent Abramsí memo, courtesy of the Chicago Reader (typos included):
"SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION" OUCH! Why not just say "Don't read this because it's a bunch of ads and no credible content"I understand the importance of seperating these from the traditional news, that's fine, but how about another name??SPECIAL FEATUREA PUBLICATION OF (PUT PAPER HERE)etc. . . . The idea being "Special Advertising Section" is worded as a turn off. . . . A bunch of ads. We can reword this and the readers, advertisers and pretty much everyone will have a better experience, AND clearly keep it separated from traditional news reporting. The things I saw the Sun do were really well done. . . . but that "Special Advertising Section" thing seemed to cheapen the content. There's GOTTA be a better way to present these sections.