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« Bending toward justice | Main | Front-page ads in the N&R »

Jun 27, 2014


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John Tasker

In effect the articles to be are ads.

Brian Clarey

We figure we'll probably do 50 or more Greensboro arts stories this year. Already done a few dozen:


Yeah, I got some outrage. And yeah, I got skin in the game. But I don't like people pretending this is just a natural progression of the Way We Live Now. What are ya gonna do, right?


A fundamental tenet of the profession is being breached here. And I feel strongly that someone needs to hold that line.

You bring up a lot of great questions — and a few answers — about the deal.

Here's something else: What about the projects that are not funded by ArtsGreensboro? Will they get crowded out of N&R coverage by this deal? And is the N&R — owned by the billionaire Warren Buffet, it's worth mentioning — absorbing funds that could be given to artists?

You may remember that Elsewhere was not always a recipient of the arts group's largesse.

Here's another one:

If the N&R has basically an exclusive deal with ArtsGreensboro, why should anyone else bother covering their events?

Reporters are scarce these days, stories as plentiful as ever. At my place we look at it as a zone defense. If, say, Killian was on a story and handling it thoroughly, we would then turn our attention to something that was not getting covered so that newspaper readers on the whole would be better informed.


Both the City of Greensboro and Guilford County fund ArtsGreensboro

$174,587 contributions from "Government", means our local elected leaders vote to fund the Greensboro News and Record via ArtsGreensboro, which endorses candidates for elected office.

Ed Cone

Gauger: "ArtsGreensboro has agreed to our request that no taxpayer money be used to underwrite this venture." But dollars are fungible, so, eh.

I think an effort to promote the arts via digital media and/or advertising might build into additional fund-raising for AG. This approach, maybe not.

Also: Where are the stories going to run? If the answer is GoTriad, then the N&R is going to have to remind readers that it exists.

There's no doubt a need for more and better arts coverage in GSO. This just seems like a short-term boost at best for AG, and a bad decision for the N&R.

Billy Jones

Anyone can say what they want, $174,587 pretty much tells the story. This is about keeping the old guard status quo up and running as long as possible. $15K reaches 70 thousand readers of the N&R whereas $15K could have reached a Million readers online. Which is best for the N&R and which is best for the local arts community-- you decide?

Billy Jones

Clarey makes an excellent point: "If the N&R has basically an exclusive deal with ArtsGreensboro, why should anyone else bother covering their events?"

Why wouldn't Clarey and the rest of Greensboro's smaller publications now hold out for their share of pay to play now that the biggest name in the local game has breached the code of ethics? I'm not saying Brian or any of the rest will do so but would I blame them for following the N&R's lead? Hell no, the N&R MAKES THE RULES in our local market. Everyone else simply has to play be them or fall behind.

Indeed, the phrase is cliche but it is indeed a slippery slope Grits has buttered.

ginia zenke

We're supposed to be just SO GRATEFUL that any attention will be given to the arts at all.
I must have missed something. I thought the N&R was supposed to be covering this already as a reflection of the great diversity of positives in this town but wasn't because, alas, there was nothing to cover. Now apparently there is; whatever the City and County tell them to cover.


I get the sense that the NR is trading on our assumption that it is something that it no longer is.

General Motors did something similar in the 70's and 80's. Badge engineering. Those who thought the new GM was still the old GM continued buying Cadillacs despite the fact that Caddillacs were nothing more than OldsmaBuicks and Pontiacs with different badging.

While this was profitable in the 70s and 80's, today only the oldest among us think of Cadillac as the truly high-end Rolls Royce competitor it once was.

In short, GM cashed in on a reputation earned over the previous 50 years.

So is the NR.


Let's not forget state law that gives the paid papers monopolistic control of taxpayer funded public notices which is completely outdated

Ed's Mom

I'm late to this party but... There are online reviews of symphonic and chamber music and opera on Classics Carolina. A lot of patrons of this kind of art (as well as Weatherspoon etc.) are, like me, "mature". While many of us do know about reviews on the web, we also tend to be readers of printed news--probably more than most demographics. I would love to see reviews in the paper--and have no problem at all with their being ads in a way. Not necessarily crazy about the pay-for-print scheme. If our paper is supposed to be about local happenings it should be about local arts: classical, bluegrass, jazz, all kinds of music, visual arts,, you name it. Well informed local people formerly wrote art and music reviews: don't know if they were paid or not,

Ed Cone

There's probably something close to consensus that more newspaper coverage of the arts would be good for the community, including N&R readers and arts organizations. Same is true for many other areas that the thin-staffed paper under-serves.

But I do see problems with the pay-for-play arrangement, and also (more to the point of my post) question whether it's the best use of AG's money.


Do you see it as a short term advantage/long term loss for the NR?

As to whether it's the best use of AG's money, I wonder if, as has been mentioned, the NR's readership crosses over with the high-end art crowd, why shouldn't AG advertise where their market is?

Just as it would do little good for AG to advertise in the Morehead City market, it would do little good for AG to advertise in the Greensboro's tractor-pull market.

Ed Cone

Maybe it will improve the N&R and allow it to better serve its community and also help AG and create a springboard for future arts-centric media in GSO.

Could happen.


Possibly. I tend to be overly skeptical at times.

Ed Cone

A lot of us are skeptical about this one. The positive scenario is possible, but it will take some vision and energy to achieve. The good news is that AG seems to have both, but it's not clear to me that those qualities run deep in regards to media strategy or that they've thought this through -- they may still be where the arts exec and PR firm cited in my post were.

Billy Jones

Nothing good can come from this in the long run. First the arts pay to play, next restaurants will pay for reviews then what? Will all coverage that doesn't involve violent acts or political scandals eventually have to pay to play? Me overly skeptical? I'm the one with the crystal ball, is there one among you who would dare to bet against the scenario I described?

That, my friends, is the slippery slope and the grease is on the outside of the wheels.

Billy Jones

PS. And it's already difficult to get the N&R to cover local political scandal.

Billy Jones

Nitwitcharmer wrote: "Just as it would do little good for AG to advertise in the Morehead City market, it would do little good for AG to advertise in the Greensboro's tractor-pull market."

You make an excellent point. Years ago I promoted a charity Blues concert headlining Abe Reid and the Spike Drivers at a city owned venue in Burlington. Abe had recently won the WC Handy Award and was packing small venues everywhere. I didn't ask them to do it but Burlington officials told me they had a serious chunk of money they were allowed to spend on radio advertising so I naturally allowed them to spend their money.

What I didn't realize until show time was that the City of Burlington had a good ol' boy arrangement with their local County Music station to run the ads. There was also print advertising that wasn't targeted-- more good ol' boy arrangements. The ads ran but the people who heard the ads were not Blues fans. 5 people bought tickets.

I paid Abe and the other acts the minute they got there so they'd not worry about getting paid while playing for any empty house. The City of Burlington, the non profit we were hoping to support, my business partner and myself all lost our asses but the media companies all made out like bandits.

I learned a lot from that experience. Honestly, the show would most likely have been a flop anyway but I would have spent more of my money on targeted advertising had I known what was going on in Burlington.


Perhaps an advertiser disclaimer is appropriate for these stories. That is what this appears to be.


Yes, I see a lot of that sort of thing.

Even the print sets the adverts apart from the news such as it is.

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