Who The Hell Is Dennis Richardson?

According to the Sentinel web site, he's a senior special sections writer for the newspaper. Or so it seems. On the right rail of the site, there's the header "SPECIAL SECTIONS." It shouldn't be confused with the nearby "NEWSPAPER ADS." Anyway, one of the items listed is the Fort-Lauderdale Airport Special Section. You click on to get your menu of stories. The first is a Dennis Richardson special that includes such choice lines as, "As with anything else, first impressions are important. A happy visit to South Florida starts, and ends, with a good feeling at the airport," and "a happy tourist is a potential return visitor."

There are other stories, like the ones on the "South Florida ambiance" of the terminals at the airport, which possess the "art, color, and beauty" of the area. And there's the one on the car rental facility, which "resembles the lobby of a luxury hotel."

You get the picture. This is Chamber of Commerce-style crap. But it's under the guise of a newspaper's special section. None of the stories have any disclaimers on them; only the opening page -- you know that thing you click past to get to the stories -- has a small line at the top. It is completely out-of-focus while letting the mind wander on the giant jet photo and giant "AIRPORT" slogan. On the reproduction of the page above, you can't even read it. But if you stop and look on the actual page, you can make out, "Advertising Supplement to the Newspaper."

This is a stealth ad from Broward County and the tourist board, a shameless promo in Sentinel news clothes, an advertorial. Why do they trick readers in such a way? Because it's a well-known maxim in advertising that people give a hell of a lot more credibility to editorial content than they do ads. Unfortunately, such stunts hurt the credibility of real reporters.

Hey, it's all good for "Dennis Richardson" though.

Drought in South Florida? Yes, the rain never comes anymore. And neither do the interesting stories. I haven't seen much good stuff in the Big Three the past couple of days. What have I missed?


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