[E]ven with the consolidation of corporate journalism, there still existed an imaginary wall separating the editorial from the advertising side of most corporate newspapers.
It has kept alive in the public mind the illusion of objectivity.
Now, that wall too is crumbling.
According to the Inquirer, a Citizens Bank ad will appear across the bottom of the front page of the business section — and another smaller ad in the top corner.
And a front page business column will appear in green — the bank’s color — and will be paid for by the bank.
“In a more unusual arrangement, a Citizens Bank label will run with a new column produced by Inquirer writers and editors,” the Inquirer reported earlier this month. “Some of the revenue from the ads will be used to hire an editor for the column, which will focus on short news items about local, publicly traded companies. The new feature will be boxed in green, Citizens Bank’s color.”
Inquirer editor William K. Marimow said Citizens Bank will have no control over the content of the new column.
It will be “100 percent based on our news judgment and prerogatives,” Marimow said.
We eagerly await critical reporting from the Inquirer on redlining in Philadelphia.
On the downside of mergers in the banking industry.
On enforcement actions brought against the company or its subsidiaries.
On how big corporations flex their civic muscle by buying naming rights to a new ballpark. It’s not the Philadelphia Phillies ballpark — it’s Citizens Bank Park.
On how bank credit card companies rip off consumers with outrageous fees.
On how bank ATMs rip off consumers with out-of-network fees.
We won’t hold our breath.
CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER: Don’t Do The Crime If You Ain’t Gonna Buy The Ad Time