Hat tip to Brian Carlson of CIO for sharing this Digiday piece. Jeff Dearth nails it: “Over time, I think, it erodes a reporter’s ability to report the ‘truth’ when it comes to the companies they’re shilling for. Ultimately, that’s what readers are looking for and what represents the true value in the media/reader relationship.” The key here is “over time.” Comfort and validation from traffic gains driven by native ads written by editors is false and short-lived. Of course readers don’t bolt immediately. Reputations can erode slowly. Publishers traditionally trade audience for ad dollars; trading integrity instead is not sustainable and just opens the brand to competition from independent journalists. ~ JC
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