London’s Leading Newspaper (7, 8)


Hackles were raised yesterday about journalistic independence, as it was reported that London’s Evening Standard newspaper–now given away for free to commuters, and found in multiple discarded copies in every railway carriage leaving the city–was accepting money from private companies in exchange for favourable news stories. The Standard has denied that any such backroom deals have been done.

Discussing the issue on Newsnight, Emily Maitliss asked whether this wasn’t standard practice for newspapers, who were always linking content with their advertising. Her interviewee, Les Hinton, thought that such connections would become more common as circulation figures continue to decline and advertisers gain ever greater power.

It will be interesting to see whether newspapers start to be sites of product placement, with odd little puffs popping up in the obituaries–‘in her declining years she gained great pleasure from weekly visits to Staples’–or the crosswords–as in ‘refreshing fizzy drink (4,4)’.

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