The Record goes for the double bonus (update: I’m wrong)

(Update: Who loves making mistakes? >this guy< The paywalled article is not in fact ad copy, but a short write up about the event that does include a section on the questionable nature of the Treasure Hunters. Not to mention and Elizabeth Roberts article that I assume appeared in Sunday's paper, which is the one I don't read very often. I regret the mistake. A mistake made because the paywall has made research a pain in the ass, but a mistake nonetheless. Now excuse me as I retire to my mother's basement.)

Before we get to today's post, we have to give the answer to yesterday's. Which high-ranked elected official was confused by "code phrases" such as "expanded dialogue" and "Can we move on?"? None other than everyone's favorite non-politician, Mayor Ann Johnston! Yes, the highest ranking City official was confused by those not really code "code words", which were really just another way to say the same thing, not actual code. Congrats to everyone who guessed correctly. On to today's business.

I've been going to the Recordnet mobile site with more frequency lately, mostly because it's the most gaping hole in the Record's paywall and also because I browse on my phone a lot. Regardless of why, I've noticed a seemingly evergreen "breaking" story at the bottom of the front page heralding a Stockton stop by the Treasure Hunters Roadshow, which is essentially a homeless man’s version of the popular Antique Roadshow.

Upon reading the story I realized it was nothing more than ad copy provided by the Treasure Hunters Roadshow to promote their event. This was confirmed when I saw the ad in the physical paper throughout the week (today it takes the place of myRecord).

Now, as abhorrent as trying to pass a press release off as “breaking news” is, I’m not dumb. The advertiser paid for that placement and with The Record’s archaic mobile site the only way to easily ensure that placement was to make it breaking news. That doesn’t excuse making it breaking news, but it’s not like the mobile site’s integrity is really high on the Recordnet totem pole.

What isn’t excusable is what you probably found out when trying to click that link earlier. Yes, the Record’s “breaking news” press release which is really just a giant ad is behind the motherfucking paywall. So if you happen to still have one of your free views left, you might accidentally click that story thinking “What the fuck is a ‘treasure hunter’?” and use one of those limited views on an ad the Record was paid to run. If you’re one of the sad saps that actually pays for unlimited access to the Record, you’re paying to read something the Record already got paid for. God forbid you pay for a paper subscription and an online one, because then the Record got paid for that non-story THREE MOTHERFUCKING TIMES!

I understand that ad copy made to look like actual news isn’t a new thing, but newspapers usually do a good job making sure to note who wrote those ads and even put “paid advertisement” above and below such ads (as in today’s Record). But when you don’t take those same measures online (byline for the online story? The Record, although the wording is different than the printed copy, so who knows) then you’re misleading your brand new online customers. That stuff may fly on free sites, but when you start charging for your site like it’s a newspaper, you’d better treat it like a newspaper.


~ by Slick Diaz on January 26, 2010.

One Response to “The Record goes for the double bonus (update: I’m wrong)”


    Story done by a Texas newspaper that send people undercover to find out what the real story was. Too bad they didn’t do it here.

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