Thursday, September 30, 2010

Would You Turn the Potential Advertisers Away?

THE WASHINGTON POST will no longer accept advertisements from massage parlors, arguing that many of the parlors are actually thinly-veiled houses of prostitution.

Many newspapers and magazines continue to run such advertising, arguing that the massage parlors have valid business licenses and are therefore, legitimate businesses in the eyes of the law.

Craigslist recently shuttered its "adult services" section, and many other newspapers - The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times, among others - quit accepting massage parlor ads several years ago.

Should journalistic outlets reject advertising dollars from businesses they suspect to be illegal?

17 comments:

Cassandra D'Amelio said...

Prostitution spreads disease and is an extremely dangerous business for everyone involved. Journalists wouldn't advertise for drug dealers, theives, etc. so prostitution should also be out of the question. I saw a segment on a news station a few weeks ago that told of the horror of girls as young as 12 being abducted and sold into prostitution using websites such as Craigslist and the back pages of various printed media to solicit these innocent girls. Journalists are doing their part to keep the community safe by not publishing these disturbing ads.

Julianna said...

Since the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and Los Angeles Times (among others) are privately owned they maintain the right to reject whoever's advertisement they want whether it's suspected to be illegal or not. I'm sure many of these places will maintain a steady clientel anyway with or without the newspapers' endorsement.

Alexis Wright-Whitley said...

Journalism is essentially a business. If journalists want to keep the business going, they would not do themselves that pleasure and associate themselves with something considered "illegal". It's just somewhat common sense.

Christopher Malo said...

Do big business/white collar/corporate crimes count? I suspect many of them are involved in illegal activities. Or are we talking about businesses that some consider "immoral" instead of illegal?

Paki said...

They're only doing this to try to create some good publicity: "We have seen law enforcement identify a number of such businesses as being engaged in illegal activities". So no one at the Post knew these places offered happy endings until the cops told them?
If no one had complained about these ads, they'd still be running in all of the papers that have since stopped printing them.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as how this is potential money for the news output I would advise the Washington Post to do more research before completely refusing to accept their advertisments. At the same time I can not blame the Washington Post for what they did because the advertisments is a reflection of the newspapers. Say that massage parlors advertised in the Post were engaging in prostitution acts ... the Post would be looked down upon for advertising such a business.

Taisje Claiborne

Shannon H. said...

This is a hard one because the key word in this case is "suspect." Now don't get me wrong I am in no way condoning the adult ads and houses of prostitution. I find it absolutely disgusting and degrading, but it would be unfair to punish some massage parlors and not ALL!! If you do not publish any ads, you are affecting the business of massage parlors who aren't performing illegal activities but if you only punish some without facts and only on the base of suspicion, you are discriminating.

Kaitlyn Sutton said...

From taking this class we have learned the journalism is a business. It never projects a positive image for any type of business if the word "illegal" comes in to play for any aspect of that business. No matter if the advertisements are actually providing illegal activities or not, the fact that they COULD be is good enough reason for me to understand why the private business, like a newspaper, has the right to reject their money.

Dana Dever said...

I think they should refuse the businesses' requests for advertisements if they actually look into the company that wants to advertise with them. Which, I'm sure, would be a somewhat expensive and time consuming process. The whole problem with not background checking these businesses and just letting them advertise, instead of rejecting them if they seem suspicious, is that people who go to the places and are not prepared for what kind of services they actually offer there might stop buying that particular newspaper, if, in the past they bought it specifically because they trusted the newspaper to only advertise legitimate businesses that are worth looking into. Plus, it just makes the newspaper/magazine look bad if they're running ads for a massage parlor that turns out to be a place of prositution.

Lady Blah Blah said...

Yes. If journalists claim they have a code of ethics, they should above all respect the law. simple comment but it's true. I think this is under the code of conduct for journalists not allowed to encourage illegal activity? or maybe is it just violence?

Camille Mola said...

Even if these businesses are just suspect of being illegal and not officially deemed illegal, journalistic outlets should and will reject advertising dollars from them. Journalism is a business, and a part of being in a business is image. Newspapers have an image to upload and these business could soil that image and reputation.

Destinie Locke said...

As many people before said, Journalism is a business. Newspapers are in constant competition with one another and one little thing, such as an advertisement, can turn readers away. If it is unknown if a business is actually doing illegal activities or not, a smart decision for a newspaper would be to play it safe and not accept their advertisements at all. It may or may not hurt that business, but newspapers must look out for themselves. There are plenty of other advertisers that can fill that space and there are plenty of other places the business may advertise itself, so really I do not believe that either business would be harmed in this case.

Kelly Offner said...

I don't know if the idea that, "massage parlors have valid buisness licenses and are therefore legitimate businesses in the eyes of the law," is something these papers should find comforting.
The "eyes of the law" are narrow and have dollar signs in them.

Unless the parlor is proven to be illegal, there's no reason the paper shouldn't accept their money.

If an advertiser turned out to be illegitimate, that should be considered the government's fault for not investigating the business's legitimacy before and during their liscence holding. Money is the opiate of the law.(no Marist affiliation intended)

Informed consumers of information don't turn to the NY Times, or any other paper, to find a reaffirmation of their morals. They go for news.

Ruth K said...

I don't think that journalistic outlets should accept advertising dollars from places they almost certainly think are houses of prostitution.

If I were a journalist I would probably find this an interesting case to investigate, though as it stands, I don't think the owners of these publications would be very keen on journalists writing on such an issue, as the publication would probably lose that advertiser's money when the advertiser saw the article. Interesting...

Layla Jones said...

I believe that journalistic outlets should not accept ads that they suspect to be illegal. Taking it one step farther than that, I think that it would be in the best interest of the news outlet not to accept ads from businesses that wouold most likely offend primary viewers.

Julia Loehle said...

While yes, journalistic outlets reserve the right to choose whichever advertisers they wish to publish and they are granted the right to refuse to do business with whichever companies they choose, it is ignorant to also blindly dismiss one entire type of business, such as massage. What about licensed massage therapists who work for legitimate massage parlors? It is not fair for them to become immediately ruled out. While I, nor any type of media, condone illegal activity such as prostitution, it would also be naive to reject those simply suspected of illegal activity based upon nothing besides its category.

Nicole Riley said...

It is the business's right to choose who they want to take money from. Maybe the newspaper does not want to support certain businesses, whether they may be illegal or not. Whoever is in charge of allotting the ad space has the power to use their own judgment or morals to choose who gets the spot.