Monday, April 19, 2010

Media Ethics: (NJ) Devils in the Details

New Jersey DevilsImage via Wikipedia
According to an article in today's New York Times, the NHL New Jersey Devils  have found a novel way to gain newspaper coverage in Garden State dailies owned by media giant Gannett Co.

Eric Martin has written a series of articles appearing in Gannett newspapers, such as The Asbury Park Press. Martin, however, is not a journalist, but an employee of the Devils.  Gannett doesn't pay for the articles produced by the NHL franchise, and theoretically, is unrestricted in how the articles are edited.

"TUOL" has an inkling that none of Martin's articles suggest the Devils have no chance to win the coveted Stanley Cup. Conflict of Interest 101 courses at any journalism school pound into would-be journalists that it's not a good idea to run news stories produced by the entity being "covered" by the newspaper.  Memo to Gannett--not sending a reporter to cover the hockey team is forgivable in a  time of declining circulation and ad revenues, but sometimes a cost-savings is no substitute for a face-savings.

In this case, Gannett allowed media critics to aim for an empty net.

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