Tuesday, January 20, 2009

McClatchy editor defends selling Obama commemorative items -- "we're just trying to make money to employ journalists"

McClatchy newspapers are selling Obama commemorative merchandise to make money so they can employ more reporters, according to News & Observer editor John Drescher.

The N&O is selling, at five bucks a pop, special “suitable for framing” copies of its post-inauguration front page. It’s also got a fine selection of Obama photos for sale. And in case anyone has missed the many promos in the paper and on the N&O’s web site, the paper even published a short article about its offerings. (In the advertising world this is called “editorial support,” and retailers would kill for it.)

This is, of course, an Obama-specific venture. His ascension to the presidency is a groundbreaking event, and the N&O is simply taking profitable advantage of the moment. There would have been no similar financial windfall in the election of John McCain because he’s just another old white guy. (And anyone who thinks the N&O would have celebrated the history-making election of Sarah Palin as vice president by selling such keepsakes is deluded.)

In an email to Gearino, N&O publisher John Drescher explains it's about making money so the N&O can employ as many journalists as possible.

“I want to employ as many journalists as possible. I am all for our advertising, circulation and marketing staffs taking content from the paper and selling it. We want to do more of this, not less. Over the years, we’ve sold posters for sporting events, as well as other big stories (for example, we sold posters of the Wright Flyer)... "

Is selling Obama merchandise a conflict of interest for the Truth to Power people at McClatchy? Yes: Obama has become a profit center for McClatchy, which calls into question whether you can trust their reporting on the Obama administration. And I have a hunch it alienates nearly 50 percent of McClatchy's subscriber base.

Hat tip: Archer05



Anonymous said...

I mentioned this book late on another thread, but maybe McClatchy will hawk
Bernard Goldberg's new book. Just trying to make money to save more jobs, right?
-A Slobbering Love Affair:
The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media-
Goldberg made history with his exposé of newsroom bias at CBS news; this exposé of the MSM’s ‘Torrid Romance’ with Obama might be his next bestseller.

Kevin Gregory said...

The "Torrid Romance" title cracks me up, I'll have to take a look at it.

Anonymous said...

The N & O is in the running for the worst paper in the McClatchy chain, and that is saying something. When Melanie Sill sneaked out of town, it should have been a step up, but it got worse. What is worse than terrible? There has to be some word for what they have become. Oh wait, bankrupt is a good word.

Anonymous said...

Goldberg book comment-
“A blistering takedown of the media's slavish support for Obama, A Slobbering Love Affair highlights how the mainstream media has not only surrendered its integrity and objectivity, but could even endanger our democracy."

Anonymous said...

Where do I sign up for the Bake Sale?

Anonymous said...

Blast from the past from AJR

-Pruitt’s Code-
McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt's 100-word definition of journalism that serves the public interest makes no mention of what patriarch [Jim McClatchy calls the family's historic fight against "the exploiters." ]

McClatchy’s ‘fight against the exploiters’? Who has become the exploiters now, Pruitt?

Jim McClatchy must be spinning in his grave.

Anonymous said...

Barf. Well, at least they're doing something.