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Survey: Readers feel deceived by branded content

Here's our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day, and from Kristen Hare, a world roundup): — At Nieman Lab, Alberto Cairo takes data journalism sites Vox and FiveThirtyEight to task for "worrying cracks that may undermine their own core … Read More

Denver Post strengthens sponsored content designation on energy section

Center for Western Priorities | ThinkProgress | Wonkette Following articles that said a Denver Post-sponsored energy section wasn't marked clearly enough, Post President and CEO Mac Tully told Poynter in an email the paper decided to "strengthen the sponsored content designation and included a definition of custom content." Tully said he hadn't "seen one … Read More

How AOL maintains editorial independence in Ford-sponsored 'This Built America' series

When an AOL team with an editorial vision joined a video production team with an artistic vision to launch an ambitious 50-week series about people and companies rebuilding America, it was clear they needed a brand to help fund it. They found a top-dollar one in Ford Trucks. But despite the sponsorship (worth just under $10 million, Ad Age reports), "This Built America" is journalism through and through, said AOL's Fara Warner, the project's editorial director. Read More

Quartz expects to be profitable by 2015, with help of native ads

The Media Briefing Quartz publisher Jay Lauf expects the site to be profitable by 2015, The Media Briefing's Jasper Jackson reports. The business news site has had success with native ads, partly because it is continuously looking for ways to improve them. "Any of these things you come up with around return on investment will be caught up with at some point, so it's more about how can we iterate and improve our ad product so it does better. We're doing really consultative ad-products in understanding what works on the site," [Lauf] says. "We're even pushing back on advertisers when they want something, saying it won't work as well as something else. We're trying to be more service oriented." Lauf says Quartz doesn't plan to charge for content and wants to "create as little friction as possible for people to share...content and experience it in their streams." The site, which is owned by the Atlantic Media Company, gets about 3.5 million unique visitors a month and had 5 million in July, Jackson reports. Read More

Atlantic introduces sponsored content guidelines that address the Scientology incident

The Atlantic has developed new guidelines for its use of sponsored content, after pulling and apologizing for a sponsored piece about Scientology earlier this month. The company issued a statement at the time that read in part: "We now realize that as we explored new forms of digital advertising, we failed to update the policies that must govern the decisions we make along the way. It's safe to say that we are thinking a lot more about these policies after running this ad than we did beforehand." The new policy issued today outlines the general principles The Atlantic will adhere to when running content produced or paid for by a sponsor, with the overall goal that "The Atlantic must maintain its editorial integrity and the trust of its readers." One key focus is on transparency: The Atlantic will prominently display the following disclaimer on all Sponsor Content: ‘SPONSOR CONTENT.’ The Atlantic will additionally include the following disclaimer on all Sponsor Content: ‘This article is written by or on behalf of our Sponsor and not by The Atlantic’s editorial staff.’ The Atlantic may additionally include, in certain areas and platforms, further explanation defining Sponsor Content to Atlantic readers. In addition, The Atlantic will ensure the treatment and design of Advertising and Sponsor Content is clearly differentiated from its editorial content. Read More