The Toronto Star has a new way of labeling content to let readers know if they are reading news or sponsored content.
Kathy English, the Star’s public editor, announced the new “labelling project to ensure consistency across all the platforms” in a recent public editor column.
English explained why the project matters. “News organizations that seek to be trusted must be truthful about all its content. Blurring news and content paid to be published by a brand or organization can confuse readers and can be seen to be dishonest,” she argued.
According to English, the Star has three types of paid content — supported, which means the work was independent journalism “produced with financial support” but not approved by whoever gave the money; sponsored, which means whoever paid for the content approved it and it isn’t independent news; and an advertisement which is written by whoever paid for it.
Each of the three types of paid content will also now include notes at the bottom. Sponsored, will say, “This content was funded and approved by the advertiser.” Supported will say,”This content was funded but not approved by the advertiser.” And advertising will say, “This content was supplied by the advertiser.”
In 2017, the Star announced a new labeling system for opinion versus news, as iMediaEthics reported at the time.