Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Do "Sponsored" Clips Count?

Some of my clips are from "sponsored sections" of magazines and are labeled "sponsored section." Are these okay to send to national consumer magazines like Parents when the editors request clips? (They are usually funded by corporations like Target for causes such as kids and nutrition or promoting reading.) I research and report them the same way as other stories I do. In other words, there are no obligations to interview sources that are sponsoring the section. But I have always felt funny about that little label on the front.

Great question! I gave this one a good deal of thought, and this is where I came out. I'd send them if you didn't have other clips to offer, but if you did, I'd probably leave the "sponsored section" ones out. Here's why.

I've written these things too. I totally agree with you: I report them exactly as I would any other story, and other than the fact that they're "sponsored," they're no different than any other contracted piece. In my eyes. But I've heard from another writer or two that editors don't always agree - that, if you've written for the promotional part of the mag (which is assigned by different folks than the editorial side), editors aren't likely to take you seriously and assign you stories for their depts. Now, I'm not really sure that I agree with this, but I am passing on the rumors that have been whispered down the lane, so if you could avoid putting yourself in this situation, you probably should.

That said, if these really are your best clips and demonstrate excellent writing and reporting, I'd suggest sending them along with the exact same caveat that you wrote to me: that you know they're from "sponsored sections," but you're still certain that they're shining examples of your work, and they'd be lucky to have you produce the same quality material for them.

Anyone have better advice or a different opinion? I think this is a really good question, and I'm truly not sure of the answer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would NOT send the sponsored clips. Editors want to feel that they are separate from the advertising/marketing side of the business.
You may feel like you put just as much reporting and writing time into the sponsored piece, but it's not considered "real" journalism.