Some news leads to external partnerships, e.g. Meteo France with the weather news.
A newspaper or TV channel may also support a cultural, sport or social event.
How are these partnerships structured from an ethical point of view? How is the separation of the marketing/commercial departments and editorial ensured? Are the risks of self-censorship eliminated?
De Standaard : Not obvious
In as much as the relationship between editorial and advertising is clearly defined, the relationship between partners and editorial content is not always obvious and readers may have difficulty understanding that when a newspaper supports a show or artistic festival it does not mention it much nor provide reviews.
Europe 1 : There is a moral commitment
These partnerships are also discussed in the weekly three-party meetings. In film partnerships, for example, the journalists responsible for Cinema are consulted first. The radio station only becomes involved with films it wants to support.
France 24 : There is a specific contract
Sponsorship has to comply with decree n°92-280, dated 27 March 1992, under the following conditions:
1. Political news programmes, political debates and news programmes cannot be sponsored;
2. Programmes about health cannot be sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and organisations targeted in articles L. 5124-1 to L. 5124-18 of the public health code.
Le Monde : This is controlled by Editorial
Partnerships are usually handled by the individual journalist so, for instance, a music journalist can propose a partnership with a concert.
Ouest France : A specific charter exists
A partnership charter was signed on 9 October 2006 by the management and trade unions (CFDT, SNJ). Article 3 of this charter specified that “partnerships must never impact on the independence of editorial”.
The partnership conventions are signed for each department by the editorial manager concerned.
Berliner Zeitung : The boundaries are very clear
The total separation between editorial and the marketing, advertising, promotions and sponsorship departments is enforced without restriction.
ZDF : A reference text exists
The guidelines established by the text, « ZDF-Richtlinien für Werbung,Sponsoring, Gewinnspiele und Produktionshilfe » also cover the channel’s relationship with its partners.
The Irish Times : This is clearly defined
The Irish Times holds journalistic work in high regard. It is made clear that no partner or advertiser can demand an article, intervene in the layout of the newspaper or even try to publicise an article. The rules of the game are known and respected without infringements, even though there are regular attempts.
Polskie Radio, kanal 3 : Co-operation
Partnerships are very common with this Polish public radio station which is seen as a desirable media sponsor.
These partnerships can have significant consequences and can result in programming changes or changes to the content of some programmes, for instance for a programme about literature, where only books supplied by the sponsor may be mentioned.