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Vampire Movies, DVD Sales & the front page of the GR Press

March 15, 2010

It is certainly not surprising that the main story on the front page of today’s Grand Rapids Press is devoted to consumerism, since we have noted this in the past. However, a notable difference with today’s article is that it essentially acts as advertisement for local retailer.

The story in question is headlined “Retail revels in ‘New Moon,’” which is about the upcoming sale of the 2nd movie in the Twilight trilogy. The story basically provides a format for representatives of various local retailers to discuss their plans to market DVDs of the much-hyped teen movie. In addition, other sources cited in the story are those from the DVD distribution industry and a fan-based magazine.

However, the most outlandish aspect of the article was the sidebar next to the photo that accompanied the story. The sidebar is essentially a run down of what five area retail stores are planning along with the sales of the Twilight DVD and their hours of operation.

At a minimum the Press should have reserved this article for the “Your Life” section of the paper or better yet it should have just been run as a straight up advertisement. Making this a news story is not only an affront to journalistic standards, but it is an insult directed at the public.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate Wheeler permalink
    March 16, 2010 12:02 am

    It astonishes me how often the Press blatantly toadies up to its advertisers in this way…but going to the front page with it is ridiculous. It’s bad enough that they bury international and national news inside the paper and lead with feel-good local interest stories. And the Press delivers more than the usual quota of advertising supplements–those fake “magazine” like tabloids that are written by the ad staff instead of the editorial staff. Putting something like this on the front page feels like it’s turning the entire paper into an advertising tabloid–which is really not far from the truth.

    And let’s brace ourselves because the first ArtPrize II stories have started to appear in the Press.

  2. Jeff Smith permalink*
    March 16, 2010 12:12 am

    Kate, I couldn’t agree more and you are right it is not far from being a tabloid paper. As for ArtPrize, it is going to get ugly this year. I think the local media should just give in and give the ArtPrize people full access to report whatever they like, since it seems like that is what happened last year.

  3. Kate Wheeler permalink
    March 16, 2010 4:24 am

    As GRIID so aptly pointed out last year, ArtPrize is, in itself, a commercial enterprise, and the multitude of articles about it served as income-generating advertisements for the DeVos family assets and other businesses downtown.

    I remembered that few of the articles in the Press failed to mention the “economic boom” aspect of the event. Here’s one example by Chris Knape, wrapping up an article about the first round of voting:

    “Here’s hoping for another round of good weather, tons of people engaging in art and their city and plenty of cash registers keeping up with the crowds.”

    Oh, yes. I know that’s what I always think of first when I think of art: cash registers.

    I suspect that the only thing I’m going to come to dread more than ArtPrize are national elections.

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