Apparently ‘Ethical Native Advertising’ Is Not an Oxymoron

The hardtracking staff at Sneak Adtack rarely has anything good to say about native advertising, those ads in sheep’s clothing that trick out marketing material as editorial content.

But here’s the exception that proves the rule.

From FishbowlNY:

Daily News Secretary Earns Kudos for Handling of Newspaper’s Advertorials

Rhonda Roland Shearer, publisher and editor-in-chief of, has announced the inaugural winners of the iMediaEthicsRibbon2site’s Ethical Acts in Journalism Awards. The goal, this year and beyond, is to highlight worthy behind-the-scenes actions by editors and administrative employees.

All six 2013 winners are impressive, but the one that caught FishbowlNY’s eye is New York Daily News confidential secretary Miranda Walker. iMediaEthics went to her after they got no response from the paper’s advertising department about the lack of proper labeling of advertorial content . . .

But they did get a response from Walker . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

POSTSCRIPT: You may remember Rhonda Roland Shearer from her 2002 rumpus with Atlantic magazine writer/author William Langewiesche over his book American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center. As Joe Hagan wrote in the New York Observer at the time, “Ms. Shearer, a 48-year-old artist and the widow of the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, is on a personal crusade to debunk Mr. Langewiesche’s reportage, derail his Pulitzer hopes, and see the book recalled and destroyed.”

Whether that dustup enhances or erodes Shearer’s Media Ethics credibility we’ll leave for you to decide.

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2 Responses to Apparently ‘Ethical Native Advertising’ Is Not an Oxymoron

  1. Hi John, 4 points for the record since my “Media Ethics credibility” is presented as possibly at risk with only one-sided facts and an out of context paraphrase left for your readers to “decide.” :

    1. The paraphrase you quote from the Observer article that is attributed to me (about my wanting to burned Langewiesche’s etc) is not a quote attributed to me because I never said it. What I said is quoted in the Observer article. It was clear my views were separate from the group I was assisting (comprised of union leaders and as The Observer wrote, “New York City firemen, Port Authority and NYPD officers, construction workers and family members of the victims”).The Observer wrote:
    “Ms. Shearer said. ‘The family members are thinking of how they could do a lawsuit,’ Ms. Shearer said. ‘Everybody hopes that this will just go away in retraction, apology and book-shredding.”

    “What does Ms. Shearer hope will happen to Mr. Langewiesche? “I hope [the magazine] will deal with this internally,” she said. “Now that it’s all come out, that there is misconduct, that they’ll do the right thing.”

    2. I was working solely as an artist and art historian in 2002. Workers at ground zero approached me about help getting correction. I said, “No problem” as I was completely naive thinking it would be easy. Documents that the group obtained proved many errors were made. Yet Atlantic Monthly only made a few of the numerous corrections required by the empirical record. It was the injustice of the harmful, un-fact checked charge, still often repeated– that 9/11 rescue workers on 9/11 were committing crimes, instead of helping victims –that mobilized me to study how journalism is supposed to be done and the ethical values that guide it. It was 2 years later that I decided to work as a journalist and eventually founded .

    3. Langewiesche himself admits in a press conference that his claim of firefighters stealing jeans on 9/11 was not factual but that he was
    “writing about construction workers reactions, not what actually happened” See video clip.
    Moreover, Langewiesche states he is “entirely unsure” of any part of his now infamous claim that Ladder 4 firefighters stole GAP Jeans “before the towers fell.” See clip.
    More here

    4. Many journalists supported me and the WTC Living History critiques of Langewiesche’s ‘facts,’ not just the ones you link to or cite. Gary Hill, then head of the SPJ ethics committee, wrote to AJR —

    “William Langewiesche and the Atlantic Monthly reported: ‘It was hard to avoid the conclusion that the looting had begun even before the first tower fell, and that while hundreds of doomed firemen had climbed through the wounded buildings, this particular crew had been engaged in something else entirely, without the slightest suspicion the South Tower was about to hammer down. ‘

    These ‘facts’ were picked up and reported by other media. Mr. Langewiesche now appears to say he doesn’t know if any of this actually true, only that this story illustrated the divisions between construction workers and firefighters. The Atlantic Monthly says its fact checkers were not trying to determine if the facts were true. Instead they were trying to determine ‘that this story was circulating.’ With all due respect, what kind of a standard is that? It resembles the standard employed by gossip columnists. This standard allowed a set of apparently false allegations about the fallen firefighters to be repeated across the country.

  2. Fixing typo here, sorry–should be in above: 1. The paraphrase you quote from the Observer article that is attributed to me (about my supposedly wanting to burn Langewiesche’s book etc)

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