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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Seattle Times Will Pay For Rob McKenna and Marriage Equality Ads in Its Own Pages

Posted by on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 11:57 AM

This is the weirdest thing to come out of Seattle Times headquarters in a long time:

Seattle Times launches Initiative to Demonstrate Effectiveness and Value of Political Advertising in Newspapers


SEATTLE – The Seattle Times announced today that it will develop and place political ads in the newspaper in support of Yes on Marriage Equality R-74 and Rob McKenna for Governor in an effort to convince political campaigns how valuable advertising in The Times can be.

“In recent years, political consultants have not been placing many campaign ads in The Seattle Times, and we think they’re missing out on the most effective way to reach voters in the Puget Sound region,” said Alan Fisco, Executive Vice President, Revenue and New Products for The Seattle Times. “We decided to try to tap into this important source of advertising revenue by demonstrating how effective advertising with The Times can be.”

The paper will be reporting these ads as independent expenditures and in-kind donations in support of McKenna and marriage equality, says Jill Mackie, spokeswoman for the company.

Among many questions this new initiative poses:

- What will it end up saying about the power of political advertising in the print edition of the Seattle Times if McKenna and/or marriage equality end up losing at the polls in November?

- What kind of sense does it make for the paper to make donations to both the marriage equality movement and the candidate for governor who opposes marriage equality?

- And will people really believe the Seattle Times when it says “this is a business decision that is completely separate from journalism functions of the newspaper"?

I'll ask Mackie about all this and update. Full announcement in the jump:

Seattle Times launches Initiative to Demonstrate Effectiveness and Value of Political Advertising in Newspapers


SEATTLE – The Seattle Times announced today that it will develop and place political ads in the newspaper in support of Yes on Marriage Equality R-74 and Rob McKenna for Governor in an effort to convince political campaigns how valuable advertising in The Times can be.

“In recent years, political consultants have not been placing many campaign ads in The Seattle Times, and we think they’re missing out on the most effective way to reach voters in the Puget Sound region,” said Alan Fisco, Executive Vice President, Revenue and New Products for The Seattle Times. “We decided to try to tap into this important source of advertising revenue by demonstrating how effective advertising with The Times can be.”

The Seattle Times has the widest reach of any media company in Seattle; 88 percent of Times’ 1.8 million adult readers in Western Washington are registered voters. Seattletimes.com is the most visited newspaper website in the Northwest.

“In addition to being cost-effective for campaigns, advertising in print provides a forum for facts with context that the public wants and deserves in making important decisions on candidates and ballot measures,” said Fisco. “That’s a real contrast to sound-bite spots on TV that often contain half-truths and innuendo.”

The Times is looking to tap into the millions of dollars spent on political advertising each year to help finance the quality journalism and information that has helped the newspaper maintain a national reputation for excellence for many years. Seattle Times staff members have won the Pulitzer Prize, journalism’s highest honor, nine times since 1950 and have been finalists 14 additional times since 1982.

In formulating the advertising initiative, The Times decided to feature one statewide candidate and one statewide issue for which polling showed to be fairly close races.

“We chose the race for Governor and Marriage Equality because our company believes they are important to the future of our state,” said Fisco. The two specific campaigns The Times will support were chosen in part because The Times has editorialized in support of each one, and because they cover a range of political and social perspectives through the constituencies of the two statewide elections.

The McKenna for Governor ads will be conducted as an independent expenditure with absolutely no coordination between the newspaper and the campaign. For Yes on Marriage Equality, the Times’ contributed ad space will be an in-kind donation to the Approve R 74, Washington United for Marriage campaign.

“This is a business decision that is completely separate from journalism functions of the newspaper,” said Fisco. “The ads will be clearly identified as ads and there is no intersection between the advertising and our editorial commentary or news reporting.”

The Times will analyze the impact its ads have in the election and present the outcomes to political consultants and candidates to make the case that advertising in The Times is an effective and cost-effective way to reach voters.

The Seattle Times is a 116-year-old locally owned journalism and community service company. Founded in 1896 by Alden J. Blethen, The Seattle Times is a fourth and fifth generation family business. The family's flagship newspaper, The Seattle Times, is the 2ND largest newspaper on the West Coast. The flagship website, seattletimes.com, is the largest local news information web site in the Northwest. The Seattle Times digital content is available in multiple formats: website, digital replica, smartphone app and tablet app. Other Blethen-owned newspapers in Washington are the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, the Yakima Herald-Republic, The Issaquah Press, the Newcastle News, the Sammamish Review and the SnoValley Star.

More company information, including links to the newspaper Web sites, is available at http://www.seattletimescompany.com.

 

Comments (19) RSS

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matt 1
Logic would suggest they make ads on both sides of any issue they are giving free advertising for.
Posted by matt on October 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 2
How is it the Seattle times and many many others don't understand that it's NOT a Yes/No on a referendum? Are we as a nation so poorly educated (don't answer that).

If a citizen opens their ballot and sees, "Approve R74" and yet they are told to vote YES, but don't see the word, it simply adds confusion to an already poorly educated population.

And this from a News Paper.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on October 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
3
@2 sort of undermines their claim that political advertising in newspapers will be effective if they cannot even get the terminology right.
Posted by Lisasanswer on October 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this
4
Editorial pages not withstanding, it seems like a company that gets a big ass tax break from the state should be prohibited from this sort of activity.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on October 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
very bad homo 5
McKenna is against R-74. He said he voted to approve R-71, but not R-74, and he thinks it is perfectly acceptable to vote on gay people's rights.
Posted by very bad homo on October 17, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 6
Trying to understand the (mis)management at the Seattle Slimes is like trying to understand an Italian train ticket--it's ultimately futile.
Posted by Original Andrew on October 17, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 7
All that political money can't corrupt them any more than they are. Can it?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on October 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
8
Sounds hugely desperate, misguided and futile. Status quo for the Times.
Posted by dbgill56 on October 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
9
Does it seem a little less than prudent to back a horse that's not a sure thing? How's it good for business to antagonize a guy with a better than 50% shot at becoming the Gov?
Posted by Westside forever on October 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM · Report this
10
If they want to demonstrate the awesome might of their dead trees, why are they running ads for things they think will win anyway? (taking their word at face wrt McKenna)

Shouldn't they instead run ads for, say, Mickey Mouse or some absurd shit like that if they want to demonstrate the awesome ability of their dead trees to sway morons who vote?
Posted by mayberrymachiavelli on October 17, 2012 at 2:20 PM · Report this
Geni 11
If I still kept cage birds, I wouldn't insult them by putting that rag in the bottoms of their cages. God, the Blethens disgust me.
Posted by Geni on October 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM · Report this
12
What?
Posted by KatTheCanuckistan http://soundmusing.blogspot.com/ on October 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM · Report this
13
Just neoliberalism in action. Promote a warm and fuzzy cause that doesn't impact the bottom line while going all out to place a Scott Walker clone in the Governors mansion.
Posted by artful_bodger on October 17, 2012 at 3:01 PM · Report this
14
The Seattle Times should put more effort into ethical, honest journalism, rather than desperate attempts to be an edgy "leader." Better yet, this paleolithic irrelevant rag should fold its withered, feeble hand.
Posted by Fizgig on October 17, 2012 at 3:09 PM · Report this
TVDinner 15
There's a world of difference between practicing advocacy journalism (The Stranger) and the craven disregard for manipulating the narrative that the Times is doing. It must be a really tough day to be one of the actual reporters still working there.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on October 17, 2012 at 3:13 PM · Report this
Jubilation T. Cornball 16
Why didn't they initial cap "launches" in the header? Boneheads.
Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball on October 17, 2012 at 9:51 PM · Report this
17
Everyone should protest this vigorously and let them know you'll cancel your subscription if they don't rescind this move. #seattletimessucks.
Posted by Traven on October 18, 2012 at 8:28 AM · Report this
18
Hhmmm, the editorial writers at the times cannot prevent themselves from saying nice things about McKenna, witness the column just yesterday by Sharon Pian Chan -"McKenna has done the math on Education." Yet now we are to believe they are independent from the business side? And please, am I the only one who feels it a bit patronizing of the times to also support Referendum 74? You know, lets throw the lefties a bone..wink wink. Even if the times is instrumental in getting that tea bagger pos McKenna elected I don't think it will save their pathetic paper from imminent extinction. I for one won't miss it.
Posted by Player on October 18, 2012 at 9:49 AM · Report this
19
"The Times" is already not a part of my life because of some of their questionable business decisions as well as their questionable journalistic standards BUT I think this is gonna cost them a lot of readers and hopefully may ultimately be the final nail in their coffin (if Karma does truly exist).
Posted by WeaverHChrist on October 20, 2012 at 10:14 AM · Report this

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