Letter to the editor

A recent article on the eroding line between news and advertising (See “Is it news, ad or infomercial?”, FineLine, April 1991), used a front page of the Philadelphia Daily News as an example. Responding is Daily News editor, Zachary Stalberg.

Author bio information is from the time of article submission and may not be current.

Source: FineLine: The Newsletter On Journalism Ethics, vol. 3, no. 6 (June 1991), p. 5.

This case was produced for FineLine, a publication of Billy Goat Strut Publishing, 600 East Main Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202. Reprinted with the permission of Billy Goat Strut Publishing. This case may be reproduced for classroom and research purposes. Publication of this case in electronic or printed form requires written permission from the publisher and Indiana University. An exception is granted for use in readers designed for specific academic courses.


. . . Your April newsletter insinuated that “Miller Time,” the main headline on the front page of the March 8, 1991 Philadelphia Daily News, was nothing more than a promotion for Miller beer.

The slogan “Miller Time” entered the vernacular a long time ago. That headline, a reference to our coverage of the first joyous troops returning from the Persian Gulf, was in the finest tradition of Daily News headlines. It provoked a smile and recognized common emotions.

. . . The news editor who wrote the headline had no idea that a Miller High Life promotion appeared deep inside the newspaper.

(Editor’s Note: An ad on page 28 of the same issue promoted a contest sponsored by Miller High Life and the Philadelphia Daily News.)

It amazes me that a publication supposedly about journalism ethics failed to call us for our side of the story. And I think it was FineLine‘s obligation to point out that the reporter who wrote the story works for a competing — albeit related newspaper.

See “Is it news, ad or infomercial?