Kudos to BlogKC for being the first to openly mock a photoset from The Jones Pool earlier this week. The slideshow from Ink magazine was more than just an unfortunate look at bad tattoos and what passes for the beautiful people in this cowtown. People who looked closely might have seen yet another glimpse at the downfall of dead tree media.
Notice the photos were tagged with a small advert for Nightlifekc.com. A brief explanation of this bit of content will demonstrate why these Summertime bikini photos were about more than just bad taste.
For the uninitiated, it’s important to explain that nightlifekc.com isn’t a division of the Star. It’s a marketing company. In fact, they’re very successful at what they do: Selling premium content packages to local biz owners that include placement on their website, photos (like the kind featured in the Star) and help with promotional materials. This isn’t a slam on their marketing efforts, NLKC are straight forward with what they’re doing.
However, sponsored content on the front page of the Star’s website (once again) wasn’t identified. That’s fine with me because in this instance the Star is simply working to cut their own throat. See, the trend for dead tree media is even more sponsored content deals with low paid contributors and very little of the old “journalistic standards” that were championed back in the day. It’s hard to do, but think of The Jones Pool slideshow as a “society” photo shoot. Sadly, since it wasn’t executed by journalists at the Star, there are no names, not much context and no real story except for some subpar bikini shots. As far as content is concerned, that’s fine. I’m certain it generated page hits. But it’s not really journalism despite occupying some great real estate on the Star’s front page for at least 48 hours. So, bloggers who use bikini pics of supermodels and other folks who employ sponsored content models shouldn’t feel so bad. The paper of record is using content “mercenaries” and posting photos of skanks. So they’re really not in a place to cast judgment on the ethics of any other publisher.