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Use local press to avoid fake news, advertisers urged

Henry Faure WalkerRegional publishers have issued a call to advertising agencies and national brands to use the local news media to avoid Google and Facebook placing their ads alongside fake news.

A group of leading publishers including Newsquest, Johnston Press, Archant and DC Thomson say agencies are falling into a “blind programmatic ad buying trap” that is leading to household brands being placed alongside extremist, unsafe and fake content.

Industry leaders say that by advertising in local publications, advertisers can have “the peace of mind that comes with a safe advertising placement as well as reaching one of the largest digital audiences in the UK.”

The call came in an open letter published today in hundreds of titles across the UK’s regional press.

Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker, left, said: “The crisis of confidence in the national digital advertising market continues, with advertisers increasingly exposed and worried about the dangers of blind programmatic ad buying which is placing household brands next to extremist content and fake news

“Google and Facebook are keen to apologise but they don’t have credible answers.

“Our content is produced by highly skilled local journalists, it is regulated, it relies on human judgement and discretion as opposed to blind algorithms, and it reaches and engages millions of people in communities throughout the UK.  As a result, our advertising environment is trusted, safe and highly responsive.

“What’s more, advertising in local news brands continues to fund much-needed high quality journalism across the UK.  We hope that ad agencies and national advertisers will better recognise the value we provide and will agree that local news brands are worth standing up for”.

The open letter points out that unlike the social media giants, most local brands are regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) which holds publishers to account for their actions

It also highlights a recent Comscore survey revealing local news site content is trusted almost three times more than social media content

Newsquest, Johnston Press, Archant and DC Thomson are among the publishers represented in the national advertising market by 1XL, a partnership that offers advertisers access to over 800 local news brands across the UK and Ireland in one purchase.

1XL has today also published its own online advertising charter pledging that ads will not appear next to extremist content and fake news.

Scott Gill, Managing Director of 1XL, said: “1XL’s unique proposition provides advertisers with the authority to reach local audiences at scale.

“We believe that publishers need to come together to put pressure on other less transparent trading platforms/SSPs to introduce a recognised and endorsed system of inventory quality. We believe 1XL’s online advertising charter is setting the standard for this.”

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  • April 4, 2017 at 11:02 am

    “…..advertising in local news brands continues to fund much-needed high quality journalism across the UK”

    Fake news anyone?
    So we assume top quality journalists, subs and photographers will be reinstated to produce this do we?
    And there was me thinking this was a self serving call to protect what little ad revenues remain before all go on line or into new independent publishers media

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