Every week the Palm Beach Post runs a special page inside the sports section called "Outdoor World." It looks like journalism, but it isn't. It's an "advertorial" page done by the newspaper's marketing department. And last week, one of the people marketed on the page was none other than Publisher Alex Taylor. The page, you can see the link here, is dominated by a photograph of the young, Jake Tapper-resembling publisher holding a large jack crevalle. The headline: "Fish Tale: Palm Beach Post Publisher Alex Taylor hooks his first snook!"
I'm going to withhold judgment, but let me introduce you to the opinions of an anonymous Post watcher who sent me a PDF of the page (I'm trying to get a link up here). Here's what he or she had to say:
Mornin', Dr. Pulp.
Not sure if this warrants a full on "Pulp" posting, but it's interesting nonetheless. And it's surely an indicator of things to come at The Post, if not also at all struggling newspapers.
Take a look at the PDF of the latest published version of the "Florida
Outdoors" advertorial page that runs once a week inside the Sports section of the Palm Beach Post.
Two things to take note of.
1.) The story about Post publisher Alex Taylor catching his first
snook. Talk about "it's good to be the king." Rather, it's good to be the
nephew of the only living Cox sister who happens to still be the majority owner of the company that owns the entire PBNI. The faux story is so nauseating. And it make the paper look stupid, even if it is run-of-the-mill marketing stuff.
Alex Taylor thinks that it makes him look like a bonafide "local." He also thinks it makes him look cute and charming.
2.) Notice the Willie Howard brief column running down the side of the page? Good story, that one. Last year during the first purge of The Post's newsroom, Willie was fired from the Sports desk because, as he was told, there was no money in the budget for a standing Outdoors section or a full-time Outdoors writer. Willie was told that he could join the Metro desk as a G.A. or he could take the buyout.
A while back - six months ago? - the marketing department started putting together this "Florida Outdoors" advertorial page once a week inside the Sport section. And guess who they tapped to wrote for it? Yes, Willie Howard. The same man they fired from the Outdoors beat when he was PAID to be an Outdoors writer for The Post.
Is that the one of the grossest business transactions that you've heard in a while? The Post shit cans Willie because there's no money in the Sports budget for an Outdoors writer. Then asks him to write (probably for free) for the Outdoors page that's produced by the marketing division.
I know you get a lot of stuff about the crappy things happening at all three papers down here these days. And this item, as I said, probably isn't worth passing along in a broad, public form.
But it is interesting in a business sense. After all, what newspaper wouldn't like to turn all of it's full-time newsroom reporters into free (or very low cost) stringers for the marketing department?
Something tells me that we're going to see more slimy stuff like this.