The advertorial was just too good. By its own admission, The Atlantic “screwed up.” But the most egregious mistake, in my opinion, is that just as the ad package was garnering media attention, a review — real editorial content — of a real book on Scientology was published, somehow furthering the credibility of the advertisement. Marketing and advertising departments are always separated from the newsroom. But like all things digital, seemingly separate things converge in unexpected ways. This is all new territory. The Atlantic seems to be talking about policies concerning what kind of sponsored content to run. But the real questions to hash out are more technical: How to label and write sponsored content; how transparent does a news organization have to be?
How do you best handle the removal, not just the correction, of content once it gets out hand on social media?
What do we, as journalists, do when our content coincides with a marketing campaign?
How do you monitor and respond to the comment sections of your publication?
What do you think? Do you have some ‘best practices?’ Tell us about them in the comments.

Trial and Error in Sponsored Content – 10,000 Words

Atlantic’s advertorial for Scientology came out at the same time a book about Scientology came out, and the blurring of lines between editorial and advertising, the old “church and state” boundaries disappeared for many readers. 

How can journalists and news publications deal with “sponsored content” when it bumps up against real reporting? 

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