When I started out in journalism in 1994, my editor admitted I would not just get assigned real stories about the happenings in town, but also something called a “fuzzy bunny.”
The technical term — if you could call it that — was advertorial.
Articles written as a regular news article, but were, in fact, paid advertising.
If the article was about the importance of getting the right wedding dress, that was an advertorial. If it was about how great a comedy club in town was, again, it was a fuzzy bunny. What to look for when buying a car or searching for a financial advisor?
You had to interview the person, and there was no hard-hitting questions. If you were a freelancer, you can could much more money writing advertorials than trying to pitch legitimate stories.
Radio and television have them, too, as do magazines and online publications.
Once upon a time, they were about products and services outside of journalism.
Now, it seems all journalists and editor do is write fuzzy bunnies about their own media outlet and profession.
Like this piece in the Hartford Courant:
Then there are the reports of Russian agents reaching more than 100 million Facebook users with posts designed to incite and divide. Whom can you trust?
The Courant strives to report on Connecticut accurately on our news pages and website, and our opinion sections look to bring readers a range of perspective, from conservative to liberal.
Our reporters and editors live in Connecticut, and we are as invested in the long-term prosperity of our state as anyone. Readers can, and do, contact us directly, through social media, email, telephone and post. We enjoy our relationship with the people who come to The Courant for news, entertainment, sports and opinion, and we think we do our job well.
But there are times when we might be too close to the mirror and not seeing ourselves as our readers see us.
On March 16, The Courant is hosting a Connecticut Forum event titled “The State Of Journalism And The News.”
This is a classic advertorial. There is no news or information: it is just a teaser to attend one of their events, as they try to sell people how good and relevant they are.
This isn’t journalism, but these days, whenever the press talk about themselves, it has become an advertorial. They never own up to their shortcomings. They are always trying to angle for some gain — whether to attend their narcissistic fear and pity tour, or beg the government for money.
They do not talk about what has happened to the profession — or why.
Journalism no longer exists. We have advertorials, not news. We have propaganda, not news, wither. We have celebrity gossip, and that just is not news.
This is the Dark Ages, despite having an Internet. We are running uninformed, but made to believe all the information we need is only a click away.
It’s not. You have sell messages, but not a single tell message.
Especially when it is a news outlet talking about itself.