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OPINION: What’s news — what’s not

You’ll see elsewhere on this site letters about the “Clean News” advertisement that ran on page A7 of last week’s Light. We’re not going to take space to dwell on what was said, but rather to explain something that readers may not understand about the piece and perhaps about our paper in general.

There are four basic ways things are displayed in the paper, even though most readers consider copy as “articles” or “advertisements.” Here’a little primer on the differences in what’s in the Light:

  • News is reported by our staff or contributors or taken from press releases from reliable sources.
  • Editorials, letters to the editor or columns appear on the opinion page and are labeled as our views or those of others.
  • Advertorial copy, which often looks like news - what appears on the Spotlight on Local Business Page or in special advertising sections - is provided by or written for our advertisers. It carries some attribution denoting its relationship to advertisers.
  • Advertisements are paid for by businesses, individuals or organizations.

The last place is where “Clean News” fits in. Although it appears to be “an article,” it is actually a paid advertisement from the Streetscape Committee, which is a combined effort of the Town Council and Promote La Jolla that is paid for by the “sponsors.”
It is our policy to clearly label copy that is paid for but looks like “news” as “Paid Advertisement.” In this case, we thought that it was clear because the organizations’ logos were prominent at the top.

We apologize for the misunderstanding and will be more diligent in using our “Paid Advertisement” label in the future. - Kathy Day