And Now A Word For Our Sponsor

Friday, January 15, 2010


Last summer the Washington Post, in an attempt to increase revenue, planned a series of off-the-record salons whereby a sponsor could pay for the opportunity to meet with government officials, Post reporters, and others to discuss, say, health care. The man responsible for implementing and marketing the salons was media consultant Charles Pelton, and though that attempt proved ill-fated he remains convinced that media outlets should find ways to turn their reporters into profit centers.

Comments [5]

Edward Rosenthal

Edward Herman, author of Maunfactured Consent, 1988 had this scenario all mapped out 20 years ago. He was, and is, largely considered a paranoic self promoter, but damn if he didn't nail this one.

Feb. 20 2011 11:00 PM
Marc Naimark from Paris

There are real risks to allowing, let alone encouraging, journalists to become profit centers. Here in France the practice of "ménages" (housework) for radio and TV personalities is omnipresent, and extends to journalists.

These celebrity journalists (the list is long) host seminars, business conventions, corporate events, etc. France's most famous news anchor, Patrick Poivre, famously gave up his journalist status because it requires that more than half of his income comes from his work as a journalist, which despite his high salary was less than his sidelines.

The result is that the journalists may be interviewing on their TV or radio show, say, a CEO who the day before had paid them thousands of euros to "interview" them during a corporate event.

And the ultimate result is that France's heavily concentrated media-industrial complex is totally unable to report fairly and objectively.

Jan. 19 2010 10:29 AM
Marc Naimark from Paris

@Paddy: I hope your data on that point is correct. I just saw an opera about a fellow whose agenda is full of questions about plurals and singulars.

Jan. 19 2010 10:18 AM
Paddy Murphy from USA

I heard Mr. Pelton on NPR today repeatedly misusing the word "media" as if it were singular. It is not, it is the plural of medium. So, I don't know how much credit you give a guy who does not understand the grammar surrounding his own profession, much less consult about it.

Jan. 17 2010 06:06 PM
Muriel Davis from New York City

Mr Pelton misunderstands the business model of The Economist. Yes, some income comes from the Economist Intelligence Unit and other 'Economist brands" but the serious revenue comes from what they charge for the magazine. Their business model never relied on advertising to cover costs. They know the value of their content, charge for it and readers are happy to pay for it.

Kind regars
Muriel Davis

Jan. 17 2010 10:33 AM

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