Ages-old argument hits online news sites: To disclaim or not to disclaim

The Washington Post published a story today titled, “‘Native ads’ on Web can blur line between news and advertising.”Washington Post's screengrab of BuzzFeed's native ads.

For as long as I can remember, certainly before I  first stepped into a newsroom, journalists have battled the advertising staff over making sure paid advertisements are not mistaken for news. News is pure. Advertising has been tainted by money. By the way, can I have a raise?

Today’s Post story reports on the ages-old argument now affecting and infecting online media. I ask your opinion in two parts. Part one, should native ads carry disclaimers, and part two, is your view tainted by a journalism lens, an advertising lens, or do you claim to be as pure as the driven snow?

Thank you for taking part.

Tom Pfeifer is the managing partner and chief strategist for Consistent Voice Communications. Reach him at


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