Ethics In Journalism Online ( Pic )

Upon visiting the CNN website, I noticed that they tightly integrate advertisements into their page design.  While it's clear below that the image on the far right is an ad,  it's integration with the page gives a conscious and subconscious cue to the reader that this ad is trustworthy and factual, essentially giving a wholesale endorsement to the product.

In this case, the product is a sleazy ad, with a dumb amount of photoshop work, and many unbelievable claims. This tarnishes the reputation of CNN for some readers, and may trick other readers because of the ads implied association with CNN.

In the past, advertisements were clearly segmented from news programs via commercial breaks, and in newspapers by the use of bold color schemes and physical separators. While I do not expect every website to have strict principles on their advertisements or ad placement, I do hold news sites to a higher standard.

Now that news is mostly being consumed online, do we expect our news sources to clearly draw the line between advertisements and information? Are ad placements that invoke subconscious mental queues acceptable?

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3 Response to Ethics In Journalism Online ( Pic )

January 26, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Agreed 100%

January 26, 2011 at 12:02 PM

I agree 100%

Ads are a necessary evil, but they should not look to be part of the content created by what is supposed to be a trust worthy news reporting site. These advertisers and web-designers need to learn to keep the ads clearly distinguishable from real content.

January 26, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Unless they specifically endorse the product being advertised it shouldn't be integrated with their presentation. I agree entirely that it tarnishes CNN's reputation.

Everyone should follow google's semi integrated approach as it both catches the eye but stands out separately from search results.

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