Earlier this week, the Collegian was criticized on the editorial page for printing a story about Eating Disorder Awareness Week next to a page with a diet advertisement. We in the editorial board feel this was a fair criticism, but we’d like to take this chance to explain why this sort of thing happens in the newspaper.
In the Collegian, like most other papers in the United States, there is a division between our editorial side and our advertising side. This occurs so the advertising does not influence our editorial side or vice versa. We do not let the advertising department tell us what stories to write, nor do they tell us where to place stories in order to favor particular advertisers. While advertising is necessary for the life of the Collegian, and in many cases a helpful informational tool for students, it does not determine our content in any way.
We believe it is necessary for the separation between the advertising operation and the editorial operation to continue so we can be unbiased in our news coverage. However, it is this separation that caused this unfortunate coincidence in the first place. This is a necessary evil.
The truth is that we rarely know in advance what ads will be coming out in our paper, and the ad staff rarely knows what stories we’re writing. While we do think the separation is necessary, we also realize how it looks when such unfortunate coincidences occur. It was not intentional, and the advertising does not reflect our editorial content, just as the opinions of columnists do not reflect the opinions of the paper.
Although there is a separation between the two divisions of the newspaper, the Collegian does have certain set standards for our advertisements. We must follow advertising policies approved by our Board of Student Communications, policies that, among other things, do not allow advertising content that is sexually exploitative or encourages binge drinking.
Advertising is a way for organizations to get their point across. If you feel offended, and want to get your point across, we encourage you to write us a letter and let us know.