The Toronto News Media Map and Advertising
If you're getting the lion's share of your news from any given area on the map above, and not branching out and getting news from other sources, can you be sure that you're not missing out on equally valuable but different perspectives?
News media in Toronto is following trends similar to those around the world - large corporations buy up smaller companies, and they also diversify by purchasing other forms of media and entertainment properties (such as magazines, television stations, telecommunications, and even pro sports facilities). Needless to say, this has profound implications - including the increase in popularity of cross-property advertising.
It's expected that Rogers will use dedicated ad space to advertise its mobile phone, Internet, and TV services on the web pages of its subsidiary news organizations such as 680news and CityNews (much like blogTO promotes its Urban Maps in dedicated ad space on blogto.com).
But should it also be expected and accepted that those same news organizations sell products and services through actual news articles?
Advertising masquerading as Toronto news isn't new, but it's sometimes so blatantly obvious and deceitful that it often makes me wonder how much we're willing to take, and how far this concept can be pushed.
Should Rogers be carefully and creatively crafting news bits to help sell over-priced football tickets, and appeal to our desires for a raise at work during tough economic times by hawking its magazines on CityNews.ca?
Should CTVGlobeMedia allow advertisements for real estate listings to be slyly incorporated into the Ontario news RSS feed and posted as news articles in the Arts section of the Globe and Mail?
Does the fact that everyone's doing it make it more acceptable?
One thing is for sure - as the the news media landscape in Toronto continues to experience conglomeration, widening political slant, and a shift from print to clickable text online, it's becoming more and more important to understand who is who.
In the very least, it's my hope that the map above helps Torontonians better understand where their news comes from and help they better make decisions about what sources they rely on.
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