Advertising Downturn Bites the Media

The terror attacks have made what was already a severe advertising downturn even worse for cash-strapped publications. Advertisers are taking advantage of the downturn by nibbling away at editorial independence, asking for more marketing freebies, better placement and bigger discounts. Wall Street Journal reporter Matthew Rose describes how the Ford Motor Company pressured Rolling Stone publisher Rob Gregory to offer free publicity for a music tour promoting the Ford Focus. Also, "Rolling Stone recently changed a sarcastic reference about Circuit City Stores, which is an important advertiser, to Radio Shack, which isn't. Although Circuit City didn't know about the reference or ask for the change, Mr. Gregory didn't want to take a chance. 'The church-state lines are never crossed, but we are working closer to the lines,' he says."