Times Ireland edition
Further to several reports this week and last in the Times Ireland edition about the State paying for content about the Government’s National Development Plan Project Ireland 2040 in some newspapers including the Irish Independent and The Irish Times…
And journalists being directed to make advertorial look like news…
Ellen Coyne reports today that some newspapers were told – by the media agency hired by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Strategic Communications Unit, Mediaforce Ireland – that “if they did a good job writing positive editorial copy about Ireland 2040, they would be paid to write similar content on Brexit”.
It follows Ms Coyne, reporting on Monday, that:
One local editor told The Times: “This is fake news. Newspapers are struggling and the government know that, so they’ve got us by the balls.”
In today’s report, Ms Coyne reported:
Correspondence between Mediaforce and newspaper editors said that part of its “deal” with the government was that copy would not include a label similar to advertorial and that the sponsored content should look like editorial.
Editors were advised that the reason Mediaforce had been able to secure the Ireland 2040 campaign was because it would ensure that copy would match the “tone” of the newspapers it was running in. Journalists were told to give government copy a local angle and if they did a good job, there would be “more to come” on Brexit.
The SCU claimed it did not direct newspapers to blur the lines between editorial and advertisements. Mediaforce has not responded to requests for comment. The articles were marked as “in partnership” with Ireland 2040 or as “special reports” but more accurate terms such as “commercial feature” or “advertorial” were not used.
Ireland 2040 newspapers told there would be ‘more to come’ (Ellen Coyne, The Times Ireland edition)
In a follow-up to yesterday’s story in the Irish Independent about The Times Ireland edition…
In today’s Irish Independent…
‘The media is duty bound to be fair’: TD’s message to British newspaper (Irish Independent)
The press must be a platform for informed debate on the Eighth (Irish Independent)
Yesterday: Paper Cuts