Car Place, Theme Park Insider & Consumer World sometime outshine big media
By J.D. Lasica
Online Journalism Review
When it comes to consumer news and information, bigger is better, right? Not necessarily — and not when business interests and advertising dollars trump the rights of readers to obtain honest, hard-hitting advice that would send a media bean-counter into a stroke.
As most newspaper and broadcast journalists can attest, there are some news subjects that are considered generally off-limits to the news side, especially if they involve major advertisers or business associates of the publisher. In two decades working at daily newspapers, I’ve had only two stories spiked: One reported on a minor lawsuit against family members of my newspaper’s publisher; the second was a column criticizing the practices of used-car salesmen. My friends in the business, travel, real estate and automotive sections have also waded into their fair share of ethical quagmires. One need only head over to any journalism trade magazine for testimony to the increasingly grim tally in the battle between journalistic values and stockholders’ quarterly returns.