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The Shrinking Wall Between Editorial and Advertising
By: Mike Bush
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There seems to be a growing trend in the media that’s blurring the lines between editorial and advertising, and no, I’m not discussing Native Advertising. For PR Pros, this trend is creating awkward conversations with clients, the need for apologies, and even questions like “But aren’t you a reporter?”

In the past six months, I’ve pitched stories to media (like everyone else in PR). What I’ve found interesting, though, has been the number of times my pitch has ended up in the hands of an ad salesperson. This has been at both trade and mainstream media, and the responses I’ve gotten back have been both forthcoming (the person identifies themselves as a salesperson) and not so much (the person says "Sure, sounds interesting. I’d love to talk to your client.").

In a couple instances, salespeople who seem to be posing as reporters have gone as far as accepting opportunities to speak at trade shows. Imagine: You’ve got your client prepared to talk to a top trade publication, and the person they’re slated to speak with starts talking about ad rates.

It’s uncomfortable.

Now, should PR people be doing stronger recon on the people we’re setting our clients up to speak with? Absolutely. But, and this is especially true of trade shows, publications often bring in freelance support for certain stories and it can be impossible to know exactly who is who.

Have you encountered this in your day-to-day pitching? How have you reacted to it?


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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