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Globe and Mail Wants to PIMP OUT Its Reporters

July 9th, 2014 · 17 Comments

George Brown would be walking a picket line.  The founder of Canada’s venerable newspaper back in 1844, Brown was one of the Fathers of Confederation and a keen supporter of the Clear Grits, which went on to become the Liberal Party of Canada.

Those were the days when the highest principles of integrity in reporting and journalism  were PARAMOUNT: front and centre at the Globe.

Not any more, judging by the latest management proposals put on the table by the paper, now owned largely by Woodbridge (the Thomson family’s media corp) and BCE Media management  group.

The Globe wants to pimp out its reporters to paying advertisers to write “advertorials”.

It would be journalistic prostitution of the worst kind … not only forcing reporters to write things they do not necessarily believe, but also leaving out “the other side” of any product or company or service.

The end result would be the TOTAL LOSS OF CREDIBILITY AS JOURNALISTS for those who write such crud: we would all know they are not real reporters, but whores, who sell their skills to the right bidder, as assigned.

Maybe  the paper would even develop its own catalogue of its writers, listing their personal statistics and specialities (car dealership deceptive promotions; chemical polluters’ positive portrayers; or, retailing puffery GUARANTEED to increase customer traffic and sales.

The Globe could also create a special Pimp  Editor, to sit on the news desk beside the National Editor or Arts Editor or Political Editor. Although perhaps the Pimp Editor should have his or her own office … you know, decorated with lots of red velvet wallpaper, comfortable settees and oil lamps … and, of course a 55″ LED TV playing the latest DVD porn,  to meld the paper’s once-proud history with its modern business profile.

Needless to say, reporters at the Globe  have objected to this management proposal and its union, Unifor, has rejected the proposal.

But the damage is done: the fact that Globe management would even PROPOSE REQUIRING its staff news reporters and journalists to write advertorials on assignment  (and not just use specifically hired or contracted advertising writer types to do it) tells me how low a view Globe’s top management now have of journalism and those who practice it.


And if the Globe staff go out on strike  … the spirit of George Brown will be right there with them … on the picket line, standing up for real journalism.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: If you want first alert notices of perspectives on my blog regarding the media, BC, national and international topics, follow me @harveyoberfeld on Twitter.  No spam, no ads, no fees … just first notice of any new blog topics.)

Tags: Media · National

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gene the Bean // Jul 9, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Who is teaching and demonstrating ethics, both personally and professionally anymore?
    I am very afraid for the next generation…and what they might do to our generation.

    (Response: The reporters still have the ethics: they are fighting the proposal completely…and I hear are prepared to strike over the matter. As for the ethics of top media management these days … well, don’t get me started on that again! Far too many seem ready, willing to prostitute their own ethics! h.o)

  • 2 RS // Jul 9, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    The decline of ethics in the MSM is infuriating. And they wonder why sales are tanking.

    (Response: Making it even more sickening ion the case of the Globe, their paid subscriptions in 2013, at 356,000 readers, UP from 307,000 in 2012. h.o)

  • 3 Norm Farrell // Jul 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Fortune Magazine: Sponsored content is the holy grail of digital publishing. Except readers really, really hate it.

    “People feel deceived when they realize an article or video is sponsored by a brand, and believe it hurts the digital publisher’s credibility, according to a study.

    “In recent years, a debate has raged on among publishing and advertising industry insiders over “sponsored content”—more recently called “native advertising” and once known as “advertorial”—the sort of advertising that looks very much like editorial content but is, in fact, directly paid for by an advertiser…”

    (Response: The two most important quality reporters have to sell is their integrity and credibility: they go together. Just the idea that ANY manager of a news organization would propose hiring out his or her staff to write propaganda “advertorials” .. and I’m sure leave out anything bad about the product or service is absolutely incredible. Very frightening, And for ANYONE who doubts people need UNIONS, just think of how this would already be implemented if Globe staff didn’t have to union to stand behind them. h.o)

  • 4 Scotty on Denman // Jul 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    The damage is already done, as you point out. The G&M’s not the only paper challenged by technological change, but they’re doing it their own way. Its journalistic integrity was probably doomed a while back—it’s demise would be complete by this idea. I mean, Jeffrey Simpson, God love him, is dry as cardboard—what’s he ever gonna sell in a thingy-mercial?

    (Response: I suspect columnists would be exempt … but if they got away with the outrageous proposal, who knows what they might demand next. I like to believe Jeffrey would QUIT before doing an advertorial .. but can’t help but wonder whether there would be “levels” of buy-in: Jeffrey assigned to full page specials fo, say, Enbridge, while some lesser light got stuck with writing about the new, improved Tide. h.o)

  • 5 marge // Jul 9, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    It has already happened here. Remember that Front page headline fake advertisement in the 24 Hours paper during the elections that called Christy Clark the “come back kid” and the media never complained about it.

    (Response: I have already written about even worse … advertorial type “stories” run in the Sun and Province near ads for the various products …but they were written by no one I d bet any of us would have ever heard of …not by actual reporting staff. Same thing in the 24 hours case, which did say in small print it was a paid ad. But I agree …even those things are awful … and if the Globe goes ahead with its proposal … I believe they will destroy the credibility of their whole paper: maybe those companies getting negative treatment couldn’t pay up to get more positive coverage? h.o)

  • 6 D.M. Johnston // Jul 9, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    News for sale!

    News for sale!

    What is happening at the “Mop and pail” is so Goebbelesque it is mind numbing.

    This insidious way of advertising is nothing more than perverting the news to increase profits.

    The next time the Mop phones me to sell a subscription, I will tell them I don’t buy infomercials.

    (Response: Well, right now it’s only a proposal …but even that is enough, I believe, to pass up the paper for a while: punish the publisher for even thinking they can pimp out their regular reporters/writers. h.o)

  • 7 Larry Bennett // Jul 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    You mean to tell me that there are people in B.C. who actually ever read the Globe and Mail – it has never been past my threshold? But even those I do read (National Post) I notice the lack of proof-reading with all the mistakes and etc., and it also seems that the reporters, or even more so, the columnists, judging from their historical perspective, have been given the task/duty of being critical of, or endearing to those they once had the opposite view of.
    Believe it or not, Coyne and Blatchford were once seen as unwavering conservative journalists (even to the point of being drummed out of university forums) and there also seems to be a lot of vague names, and even unheard of names popping up all over the page.

  • 8 harry lawson // Jul 9, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    a sad state indeed, people read news papers for news. when you turn your reporters in to ad copy writers instead of reporters you are killing the purpose of your paper.

    is papers like buy and sell making more than you ?

    the people who buy your paper deserve a newspaper.

    (Response: Too bad Buy and Sell is already copyrighted…the Globe could use it as their new name! h.o)

  • 9 e.a.f. // Jul 9, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Well no wonder Mackay is trying to change the prostitution laws, oh, wait, you can sell but no one can buy. This ought to be fun for the G & M. They actually are starting to make Al Jeezer look good. Like really, Harvey, what is the difference between the two. At least Al J. is about their ideology the mop and pail is about the money.
    Sort of remind you of Rupert murdoch’s paper and the british politicians and all that fun.

    when you have papers doing what the Glob and Pail is trying to do, no wonder people stop buying papers. They know they aren’t getting news. If it weren’t for sports sections a lot of these mSM papers would fold. actually the sooner the better. perhaps something new and clean will rise.

    (Response: The sad part is that your question is quite valid these days …where 10 years ago it would have been unthinkable. I can’t help but wonder that, even if reporters succeed in fighting off being directly assigned to write advertorials … what about behind the scenes? Management have now shown they see nothing wrong in selling advertorial “stories” … so maybe a writer could be assigned to do a story on, say, a new university program or innovative medical service… without really knowing if that university or medical provider paid a fee for regular ads, but also got to have something covered, without it being identified directly as an advertorial. h.o.)

  • 10 Larry Bennett // Jul 9, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    e.a.f. – “… oh wait, you can sell but no one can buy.” What this is about is the inability of women to commit a “sin”. The serpent, we have been told, seduced Eve, and she, in turn, seduced the man – Adam. I realize that most of the women involved in this trade were probably abused at sometime in their youth, but now they go stomping about in slut parades, and demanding that they be accepted in whatever career they so wish – except, of course, motherhood, in a good many cases. Pimping will only now be allowed in the print business, but then many of them ( the Grey Lady) has been whoring for many years, but like the others, in that particular business, – the end is near.

  • 11 John // Jul 10, 2014 at 8:34 am

    The late Dr. Hunter Thompson described journalism as a “low trade”.

    Seems there are plans in place that would eventually drive it right into the bog.

    (Response: This is what happens when those who own/run the media are lawyers and accountants …not really news hounds at heart. Strangest thing is when REAL believers in news were in charge, the owners made money(profits) by the barrel because they supplied a product people wanted and their huge numbers attracted advertisers; now, under the accountants and lawyers, costs and quality have been cost, there is increasing interference in the product …and readers/listeners and viewers are fleeing from many of them, resulting in lower advertising pull and dollars. If they just see news as a “product” maybe they should learn that just like cell phones, Ipads, shoes, blankets and headache relievers …you make MORE MONEY with new, improved products…not less potent, poor quality substitutions. h.o)

  • 12 e.a.f. // Jul 10, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Larry get your head out of your “Bible”. my comparison was prostitution and newspapers. Like as in newspapers are starting to act like a bunch of old whores. Lets not go there, o.k. lets. the MSM isn’t that different from prostitution, these days. o.k. its very different. sex trade workers, you know what you’re buying, with the newspapers, not so much. you think you’re getting a newspaper and they’re selling something else.

    Now as to the serpent and seduction and all that good stuff. remember the guy was an idiot, Adam that is and if the story was really true, we know men haven’t changed much. They’ll still pay almost anything to get laid or whatever. Or lets put it this way, how many men have said nice things to their wives or bought them what they wanted, even if they didn’t want to in the hopes they get laid. In society we are usually just haggling about price and the type of service.

    Slut parades, what the hell is that. About the only “sluts” I know are the politicians running around this province trying to tell us LNG is good, its about jobs, jobs, jobs, high speed limits are good, decent education for kids is bad, etc. Honest sex trade workers, well they set a fee and in most cases, as I understand it, deliver.

    Now its time to go read a Louise Penny novel. Try it, you’ll love them–Canadian writer, set in Quebec, o.k. maybe not for you. Now I’ll have to wait until Harvey writes a new article.

    I know I shouldn’t have risen to the “bait” but we’re both “so easy” when it comes to that.

  • 13 Scotty on Denman // Jul 10, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    e.a.f.: I liked it better when you used lower case in the initial “m” in mSM [sic]; I thought it was a clever, illustrative acknowledgement of MSM’s gradual decline (as in, the “S” will be the next one to be demoted as msM descends another notch—eventually it’ll be msm, all lower case, and so on until at last the final “m” vanishes). I should like to adopt it, if that’s OK with you—or even if it’s only oK with you. ok?


  • 14 e.a.f. // Jul 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Of course. it wasn’t an intentional, conscious, small m, I think, its the keyboard, but o.k. I see where you’re going with this. ya, k

  • 15 Izzy Stone lives on! // Jul 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I’m a Globe subscriber of many years and not surprised by this attempt. Publisher Phil Crawley ( perfect name) crawled out of the ooze of British tabloids where that behaviour is perfectly acceptable. Good on Unifor and the staff to reject it. BTW,Larry, do you have any original thoughts or repeating Ezra’s bullet points is all you have? And Larry, how ’bout Burnaby’s leadership on exposing the NEB’s pathetic role in trying to shepherd Kinder/Morgan’s pipeline to fruition?

  • 16 Larry Bennett // Jul 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Never mind the NEB BS. I want a bleacher at the ballpark in Central Park – that’s the mayor’s job, leave the heavy stuff to the pros. If the Corrigan Comintern hate the pipeline so bloody much, they shouldn’t accept their taxes! Has he already forgotten that Dix didn’t get the job because he pissed off the union boys who, rightfully are looking for work? I think I iterated here that Ukip in Britain is stealing thousands of votes from Labour because they want to stop the influx of European tradesmen looking to take jobs from them – many of whom have just crawled out from under Russian hegemony.
    It is obvious e.a.f. that your English competence is terribly lacking and my comment went right over your head – again.

  • 17 MAD // Jul 13, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Would be the greatest thing for our country if some tough ass kicking, down in the dirt real journalists, news figures, and non biased radio hosts got together and started a new outfit /radio station and got this train back on its tracks. Alex Tsakumis, as president. If you weren’t retired h.o. you would be a good candidate. You boys are the real thing. Radio CKNW, and media corporations like Globe and Mail and other shameful media misfits who helped degrade our country and sold out the public would get a great surprise, and not a very good one.They would see what keeping it real means, and put them into just a page in a book about the rise and fall of other greats and empires, a sticker on a lunch box or a laugh on a T-Shirt . CKNW might lose lots of listeners to the real thing. Might even pick up some real journalists etc. from these places who are sick of being a party to the swill and wear the same soiled pants.

    (Response: Unfortunately it takes MILLIONS of dollars to start a radio station …and just going through the process of applying for CRTC approval to compete with others (millionaire corps) trying to get licences would cost hundreds of thousands more. The problem isn’t lack of’s lack of imaginative management with winning broadcasting backgrounds who have the pulse on what ordinary listeners want and can convince the bean counters and corporate suits to provide it. h.o)