Monday, October 5, 2009

Would You Turn Away Money For An Ad You Feared Might Cause Controversy?

THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN- OSHKOSH student newspaper, the Advance-Titan, recently refused to run an advertisement from a pro-life organization, Human Life Alliance.

The newspapers' staff feared that the advertisement, a 12-page pamphlet, would cause controversy and possibly make the newspaper appear to support the pro-life cause.

Would you have run the ad? Would it appear to make the paper seem biased? Does not running the ad reveal the newspaper staff's opinions?

7 comments:

Don Hoegg said...

Maybe with enough disclaimers, it'd be alright. Of course I haven't seen the ad, so it's hard to make a judgment. I wouldn't be surprised, though, from what I've seen of pro-life propaganda, if there had been some pretty graphic things in there.

This reminds me of controversy with the NY Times. During the Petraus hearings they ran an ad that used a play on words with his name (something along the lines of "Petraus or betray us?")and caught a lot of heat for it.

More often than not, It's not the message but how it's presented that causes controversy.

Lisa Jiang said...

I would probably run the ad, if i can show both sides. Maybe by running another ad that's pro-choice. It would let the readers decide. By not running the ad, it does not necessarily show the paper's opinions or agenda, unless they run an ad that was pro-choice but refuse this ad.

William Carlson said...

I'm not sure about this because the reality of advertising is that you need to weigh the opinions of other advertisers. It could be financially damaging to run an ad only to lose 5 other frequent advertisers. At the same time, perhaps tempering it with another viewpoint would help. You could throw a Planned Parenthood ad in the same edition. People would still probably cry about it, though. You can add the disclaimer "advertisements in the Advance-Titan do not necessarily reflect the views of the paper" somewhere. It's a tough issue. It comes back to balancing journalism as a business versus it needing to be an important and impartial core of society.

Courtney said...

I feel like this newspaper is so one sided especially at college full of liberal students. Wheres the pro-choice side of it? You cant run a 12 page pro-choice pamphlet without having another side to argue.

Anonymous said...

FELICIA TOPSALE SAID................I wouldn't have put the pamphlet in the paper either. I think a one or two page ad would have been okay, but 12 pages??!! That seems very excessive. As a woman, if I read an ad like that in ANY periodical, I would assume the ad supported the views of the periodical. It wouldn't stop me from reading it though. I am a pro-lifer, but I can see why someone who believes in pro-choice would be offended.

Dan Vetrano said...

This ad would absolutely make the paper to have pro-life initiatives. As an independent newspaper, everything that goes into the pages is considered content. Magazine like Ebony are more likely to post ads featuring African Americans than those of another ethnicity. This is because the editors use advertisements they feel will be not only be effective, but also appropriate to their magazines/newspapers content. This ad would deem the newspaper fairly conservative because they actively chose to use a conservative pamphlet to get money, as opposed to the many other possible liberal ads they might have used.

Wafai Dias said...

I think that if the newspaper runs both the pro life and pro choice ads then if would be okay. But if they only show one then it will show a bias.