Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Getting To Make Fun Of Your Own Newspaper Without Getting Fired

The Florida Times-Union's Wayne Ezell Shows The Foolishness of the Ad Department's Ways and Performs A Public Service at the Same Time
It's fun being a reader advocate or ombudsman sometimes. You can pretty much say what you want, skewer a few sacred cows and piss off people in the newsroom without fear of a pink slip.
Wayne Ezell at the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville knows that well. Which is how he got to have fun at the expense of the newspaper's ad department, which accepted a full-page ad that had a big stink to it.
The cool part: people inside the newspaper aren't supposed to say "no comment," hang up or curse at the reader advocate. They have to provide answers, even if they wind up being lame like the one offered up by ad director Mark Cohen.
"We cannot check out the creditability [sic] of every advertiser or offer. However, if we have a legitimate complaint from a reader that they were in fact 'scammed, then we will investigate, and if found to be true we will no longer accept further advertising."
But does the T-U check out the veracity of any ad? Might a full-page ad that's advertising the ready availability of "surplus cash" ring a few warning bells? Apparently not, so long as the check clears. Times are tough in the news business, after all. Caveat emptor yada, yada, yada.
Which is why we need more Wayne Ezells helping us sort out the wheat from the chaff, even when his bosses profit handsomely from that chaff.

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