Buffalo Newspaper Guild

CWA Local 31026

Sponsored content and The News — and what you need to know about it

The Buffalo News is trying to fool you into thinking advertisements are journalism.

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Lee Enterprises, which owns The News, is apparently OK with letting readers think that ads — also known as “sponsored content” — should look like the real journalism produced by our hard-working Guild members. Our repeated objections have been ignored.

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Discerning readers, with some effort, might be able to tell the difference. But why mislead them? Trying to trick and deceive our readers into thinking they’re actually getting news is offensive to the professionals whose job is to deliver trusted information.

Over the past few months, there have been many examples of this ongoing problem, with items posted on the website that masquerade as news articles, as well as social media posts that are displayed just like actual news headlines, without any labeling. This has to stop.

Some instances have been particularly egregious.

When an ad is made to look similar to a news story, and fails to adequately be labeled so that readers know what they’re looking at, it hurts the credibility of The Buffalo News.

The Guild has raised our objections with local management. They rejected the union’s grievance.

Labeling sponsored content, which is what the Guild is asking for, isn’t hard.

The whole situation is embarrassing and unnecessary. Lee Enterprises should start clearly labeling these ads. #ItsAnAd

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