The New York Times has come under fire for blurring the boundaries between marketing and journalism after its revamped website went live today.
One of the key changes to be introduced is the prominent use of articles and videos created by advertisers throughout the site with no involvement from the NYT’s own newsroom.
To differentiate such content from editorial such articles are labelled ‘paid post’ and use their own distinct colour bar and typeface.
The money making ruse follows a decline in popularity for traditional digital ads, which are rarely clicked on, prompting advertisers to migrate toward digital ad sponsorships.
Defending the move Meredith Kopit Levien, executive vice-president of advertising at the NYT, said: “We think this can be great content, but you have got to call it what it is, which is advertising. We’re letting a marketer tell their story.”
Peter Hempel, president of Omnicom’s DDB New York advertising agenc, warned of potential pitfalls however, saying: “The potential losers are the readers. They may feel slightly misled or that their time is wasted, which is the worst thing that you can do nowadays.”
The move follows a 2 per cent decline in advertising revenues at the NYT last year, driven down by a 3.4 per cent decline in digital ad sales.