Indiana Daily Student Columnist: ‘Print Journalism Now Even More Dead Than It Was Before’

Indiana Daily Student columnist Riley Zipper is aghast at the amount of advertorials being primed, polished and shoved into evermore print magazines. According to the Indiana University junior, the growth of this ad-editorial blurring — popping up most prominently on the current cover of Forbes magazine — sends an ominous sign to news media watchers worldwide.

As he writes in a new IDS column, “It’s official: print journalism is now even more dead than it was before. … ‘Advertorial’ content — advertising poorly hidden within editorial content — is rampant in your favorite magazines. Hide your kids! Hide your wife! These ‘native’ ads attempt to trick the reader into thinking they aren’t ads at all. And they’re pretty good at it. Until you look closely and see the villainous marker lurking in the corner of the page, camouflaged in the shadows: ‘Sponsored Content.'”

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Is this form of editorial camouflage a needed life-raft for cash-starved pubs or a one-step-too-far money-grab that will make readers more distrustful every time they turn the page?

Zipper’s take:

“Native advertising is not the way to go for a struggling print publication. People do not like to be deceived, so if you trick them, they’re going to stop reading your magazine. You can have all the ads you want in your magazine. But it doesn’t matter if 
nobody’s reading it. And if nobody’s reading it, you lose your sponsors. I’ve never even taken a marketing class, and I know this. It’s common sense. Something you figure the editor of a 
business magazine would 
understand.”

For those interested in a chuckle after a full read of Zipper’s well-written piece, check out John Oliver’s take on native advertising.

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