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The New Columbia Journalism Review Reports:

---Growing demand by advertisers for influence over the editorial content of publications large and small ---Doubts on whether newspapers and magazines should continue their deals for free access to 'The Bloomberg' ---Coming changes at The New York Times in color, new sections, later closings ---Newspaper editorial pages are undergoing reexamination nationwide --- How two small papers in mostly white communities have reported on race relations The September/October issue of CJR, the country's premier journal of press criticism and comment, was published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism this week with these stories and features:
Advertisers' Breath Is Increasingly Hot on Editors' Necks
Advertisers are stepping up pressure on magazines for editorial control, and some editors are bending to it, reports the Columbia Journalism Review in its September/October issue, published this week. "Just about any editor will tell you the ad/edit chemistry is changing for the worse," writes free-lancer Russ Baker in the cover story, "The Squeeze." "Corporations and their ad agencies have clearly turned up the heat on editors and publishers, and some magazines are capitulating, unwilling to risk even a single ad. This makes it tougher for those who do fight to maintain the ad- edit wall and put the interests of their readers first." Baker's article focuses on a letter sent to at least 50 magazines by the ad agency for Chrysler Corporation requesting prior review of story summaries and an alert "in advance of any and all editorial content that encompasses sexual, political, social issues" or that might be construed as provocative or offensive. He cites Esquire's decision to kill a fiction piece for the April 1997 issue, reportedly anticipating that the story's gay theme and raw language would cause Chrysler to pull its ads. And he offers examples of attempts by advertisers to influence the editorial content of the three newsweeklies and other magazines large and small. A number of magazines in jam-packed demographic niches told CJR they had no problem with the Chrysler letter, he reports. Baker notes that it has long been accepted practice in the magazine industry to give advertisers a "heads up" on potentially disconcerting editorial matter so that their ads can be placed at a distance from it or rescheduled for a later issue. But the Chrysler letter "crosses a sharply defined line," he says. "In the long run everybody involved is diminished when editors feel advertisers' breath on their necks," Baker concludes. "Editors simply cannot bend to the new pressure. They have to draw the line - subtly or overtly, quietly or loudly, in meetings and in private, and in their own minds." In a related article, "Woolly Times on the Web," free-lance reporter Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal cautions new media to take care how closely they work with advertisers on the internet. She describes the use of "commerce links" and "co-branding" and quotes American Society of Magazine Editors president Frank Lalli: "This is the Wild West of publishing now - sort of anything goes," and Josh Schroeter, director of strategic planning at the Center for New Media at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism: "What you're going to see [in the digital medium] is a marketing vehicle with the editorial content inserted into that."
Accepting 'The Bloomberg' Now an Ethical Question
Now that Bloomberg News has itself become a business giant, should newspapers and magazines continue to give it the credit it demands for free use of the information it dispenses? That question of journalistic ethics is becoming increasingly problematic, reports Daniel Kadlec, Wall Street columnist for Time magazine, in the September/October issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, just published. His article, "How Bloomberg Strong-Arms Newspapers," notes that Michael Bloomberg's business centers on leasing his highly useful, nearly indispensable financial news and information terminals to brokerages and other firms around the world. He offers "The Bloomberg" to news organizations free of charge if they painstakingly cite the Bloomberg name as their source in columns and stories, increasing his visibility and credibility. Most editors have found no ethics problems with the arrangement, but "some confide that their comfort level is eroding as the Bloomberg organization continues to press hard for exposure and grows into a formidable company deserving of press coverage that is free from the appearance of favoritism," writes Kadlec. He cites examples of pressure Bloomberg News has brought on publications, including removal of terminals from those that fail to credit the firm adequately.
Change at The New York Times
The New York Times is getting lipstick, rouge and a facelift, and more late news, the Columbia Journalism Review reports in its September/October issue. Color, eventually on page one, will appear on news pages, and several new sections will be added. The first edition deadline will be pushed almost two hours later, in part to catch night sports results. The expensive moves are necessary to keep readers, which the Times has been losing. "We admit we're taking a risk," said publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. "But we feel that not changing would be even riskier with our readers and advertisers."
Revamping the Editorial Page
Newspapers nationwide are scrutinizing the mission and relevance of their editorial pages, the Columbia Journalism Review reports in its September/October issue, just published. "Once the ivoriest of towers - impenetrable, aloof and, perhaps, condescending or bombastic - opinion pages are being reexamined at papers across the country," writes Stephen J. Simurda, who teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He calls it "probably the most significant development in these sections since the introduction of the op-ed page in the early 1970s." In reviewing the opinion pages of 16 newspapers and interviewing their editors, Simurda found an increase in original reporting in preparing editorials, more active searches for writers with fresh opinions, more local editorials and columns and expanded letters sections.
Reporting on Race
Small daily newspapers in two mostly white cities in Texas and Maryland examined race relations in their communities in large, multi-part series this year and last, and both opened people's eyes, reports Terry A. Dalton, who teaches journalism at Western Maryland College, in the September/October issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. The Times Record News in Wichita Falls, Tex., explored the black/white relationship in business, religion, schools, criminal justice, athletics, the military and, in a blistering indictment of racist policies and practices of the past, the newspaper itself. Editor Carroll Wilson said he believed "we established a context for a conversation." The Carroll County Times in Westminster, Md., examined the experiences of blacks in employment, education, housing, personal safety and other areas in a county that is 96.7 percent white. "We wanted to tell the stories of a group of people who had been overlooked, not just by the paper, but by the people who live here," said an editor, Scott Blanchard. 8.29.97 19,170