Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Megan Padley, research report. "The Broken Wall" by Black Fleetwood

Blake Fleetwood came to the United States at the age of three. More specifically he came to New York. Fleetwood was born in Chile.  He went on to earn a degree in political science and comparative politics from Columbia University. He has taught some political classes at New York University. More recently Fleetwood has been a publish writer. His mediums of production include The New York Times, New York Magazine, Wall Street Journal, USA today, Washington Monthly and many more.  Fleetwood also helps with marketing for a few travel companies.
Fleetwood tends to write about shocking topics such as the TSA, NRA, and many different political articles. Fleetwood’s background leads to the purpose of this article. A few years ago he wanted to publish a story on Tiffany receiving huge tax breaks in the New York Times. His writing was of great quality and had a lot of potential behind yet, yet his idea was short changed. Tiffany was a large advertiser within the Times, and because of this his story was changed.  His greatest point of the article, Tiffany, was hidden within the story itself in the 19th paragraph.
The mission statement of the Washington Monthly also provides a reason for this article getting published. They state they have  “a willingness to ask uncomfortable questions.” Which is what this article is pointing out. Claiming that marketing is tainting journalism.  The Washington Monthly claims that they aim to be an independent voice, not swayed by any political party or media source.
This also adds to the reason behind this article getting published. In the article Fleetwood brings up a few examples of how advertisers have swayed stories and kept papers from publishing certain things. Yet, Fleetwood is calling everyone out in one article: The advertisers, the papers and the journalist who have been swayed. I believe many papers would be unwilling to publish this article because of the potential backlash the paper would face.
This article was very gutsy for both Fleetwood and for the Washington Monthly, it does seem to be a credible story, and meets what I believe an article should contain. Fleetwood describes many different examples of advertisers manipulating journalists. He describes a few different car dealerships that have boycotted papers because of what they have posted in their articles. Fleetwood does offer a possible other reason for this change in marketing affects on journalism, which is the changing of times. When this article was published the switch from one person being the owner of a paper to a large company owning a paper and being very focused on profits of the paper. Which could lead to advertisers having more say in what is publishing since advertisers provide a large portion of the papers revenue. In  addition the amount of readers are declining which forces papers to rely more heavily on making their advertisers happy. 


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