An Orange County Register spokesperson confirms a report in the OC Weekly that the news organization will no longer accept adult ads.
The Weekly’s Gustavo Arellano quoted a letter from Michael H. Burns, The Orange County Register’s senior vice president for sales and marketing:
“While we wish you much success in your business, we believe the decision to not accept advertising of this category serves in the best interest of our audience.”
Register spokesperson Eric Morgan tells Poynter in an email that the letter went out in late April and was “sent to select businesses who operate gentleman’s clubs and massage parlors that include suggestive language such as ‘fully nude club,’ ‘private rooms’ and ‘sexy girls’ to advertise their services.”
Morgan says “We see this as an opportunity to improve the overall quality of our content for subscribers.”
Ultimately we are a private enterprise and explicitly reserve the right to accept or not accept certain types of advertising.
Register owner Aaron Kushner has banned some negative political advertising, telling an OC Register reporter, “we don’t like negative political advertisements.” He’s also told Jim Romenesko he’s wary of how the newsroom reports negative stories.
Arellano’s post shows a page of the Register with ads for strip clubs and massages.
The (Allentown, Pa.) Morning Call dropped such ads at the turn of the century, citing reader complaints. More recently, controversy about adult ads, particularly those that promote prostitution, has centered around online services such as Craigslist and Backpage.com as well as some alt-weekly papers. Craigslist dropped its adult ads in 2010; last year Village Voice Media’s founders sold the company’s alt-weeklies and retained ownership of Backpage.