EDITOR’S BLOG: Reader complaint provides new perspective for Herald staff

Josh Moore

Advertisements are designed to attract attention, and a big “XXX” and a green leprechaun certainly did the trick last week. But one reader expressed some concerns with those ads that recently ran in the Herald.

Of course, we always appreciate hearing from our readers. It often sparks a new discussion or brings a new perspective to conversations we’re having, and that was again the case with the recent letter we received.

Our policy prohibits ads that encourage irresponsible drinking and/or the illegal use of alcoholic beverages, most specifically “all-you-can-drink” promotions. We recognize the importance of such policies on a college campus, and we welcome the opportunity to reevaluate those polices on these occasions when ads may come close to that boundary.

However, in other instances the Herald does its best not to interject its opinions or moral judgements into the advertisements we sell just as we don’t in the stories we write. We have faith in our readers to make a decision for themselves what they consider to be right and wrong businesses to patronize.

But why are advertisements so important to the Herald? Because they’re basically our only source of income. It’s a common misconception that because we’re affiliated with the university they provide us money for the newspaper — they don’t. Advertisements alone pay the huge cost of printing our paper and paying our staff. They allow us to continue the vital role we’ve played on campus since 1925.

The financial (and editorial) independence is something we’re proud of. But it also means we can’t appropriately be compared to other organizations on campus that use advertising to supplement their budgets from the university.

If there’s ever a concern or question you have about something you see in the Herald, here’s your chance. As editor-in-chief, my responsibility lies with the news and content side, but I’m happy to use this blog to address any concern you have, whether it’s about content or advertising.

Let us know your thoughts. We always welcome the discussion and your perspective.