Thursday, January 1, 2009

Intell / New Era merge ads with news

On the first day of the new year, readers encountered the prominent front page headlines "Weis to lower, freeze food prices; 2,400 items affected; will last 90 days."

Although a by line was given to an Intelligencer Journal staff member, the entire article had all the markings of a promotional hand out from one of the Lancaster Newspapers' major advertisers.

No mention was made that each Weis market has a staff of workers devoted to going around marking up food prices. We can understand the necessity of this during times of inflation.

But prices have been precipitously falling recently due to the economy, with the Consumer Price Index down almost 2% over the past two months. The nation has suddenly found itself facing deflation, rather than inflation.

Any legitimate journalistic report would have raised the issue as to why Weis isn't lowering prices rather than simply freezing them!

Had the report interviewed other supermarket chains in our region to find out what they are doing, the headline may have been "Weis freezes prices; others lower them."

Let us hope that desperation for advertising bucks in the new year does not bring about the mixing of advertisement with news coverage. It is bad enough when the newspapers use news reports to promote fellow members of the Big Five.