Thursday, May 03, 2007

 

A letter: Product placement in the NY Times?

This evening I dashed off a note to the Times' Public Editor—
On April 29 a story appeared by Jennifer Steinhauer--"For $82 a Day, Booking a Cell in a 5-Star Jail."

The 5th para described a most attractive Ms. Brockett, whose photo the reader has already seen, as follows—

Ms. Brockett, who in her oversize orange T-shirt and flip-flops looked more like a contestant on “The Real World” than an inmate, shopped around for the best accommodations, travelocity.com-style [sic].

I can see no especially compelling reason for characterizing Ms. Brockett as a character in a current TV show nor for characterizing her search as "travelocity.com-style." But what really fascinated me was the live link that was provided to travelocity.com.

I thought to myself: "Is travelocity.com really providing information on jail accommodations?" So I clicked the link, and lo and behold I was on Travelocity's home page!

I hope I'm not giving away any secrets when I tell you that in some corners of the web a link from an organization such as the NY Times could represent real money—especially if it were preceded by a phrase such as "shopped around for the best accommodations."

Is there something that the Times hasn't told us about its advertising practices?

I'm eager to hear back.
1:59 pm

I've received a note from Joe Plambeck, Office of the Public Editor: "I have sent your message to the appropriate editor."

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