The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Baker Is Not A Fan Of Going Native

Gerald Baker, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, spoke to the journalism school at New York University on September 24 and shared his thoughts on native advertising. His thoughts were of the negative nature, sharing that “it makes the reader confused as to what is news and what is advertising.”

The Concept Of Native Advertising

If “native advertising” is a new concept, then let’s take a look at what Dan Greenberg told Mashable about the term. He describes it as “a form of media that’s built into the actual visual design and where the ads are part of the content.”

Native advertising brings advertising and content together into one category-confusing, but consumer-grabbing section in a newspaper, or any media outlet for that matter.

Chron Shell Native Ad

A screenshot taken September 29, 2013 of native advertising on Chron.com that is powered by Shell Energy Company.

Readers can get confused as to whether they are reading an actual news story or simply an advertisement made to look like news. Either way, it seems to be an effective way to get reader’s attention and to “confuse” them into reading an advertisement. Sharethrough recently studied the effectiveness of native advertising and discovered that is was a lot more effective that normal advertising.

Sharethrough's Native Ads

Sharethrough conducted a study in early 2013 to discover the effects of native advertising on its viewers and created this infographic to displays its results.

Gerald Baker Doesn’t Want The Wall Street Journal To Go Native

Every newspaper editor has a different outlook on advertising and how it should fit into his paper. One thing that is almost always agreed upon, though, is that advertising is necessary in order to keep the newspaper running because, in the end, it is a business. There is one important question, though, leaders of a news company have to think about: “How should we fit the advertising into our paper?”

The answer will differ depending on the type of news publication, the standards the editor sets for its outlet and the standards the readers set for that outlet.

To Baker other editors at other companies don’t matter because The Wall Street Journal is a high-caliber paper and needs to keep advertisements and content separate in order to sustain that standard. Plus, the readers’ trust depends on that. “The reader’s trust, the very reason that those advertisers want to advertise in those news organizations, goes away,” said Baker at his speech at NYU.

What do you think about “native advertising?” Do you think media outlets should incorporate it into their publications? Let me know in the comments below!

Twitter: @TheRachaelE

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