Friends with benefits?
A RECENT "invitation" by Scotsman editor Ian Stewart to organisations in "industry, academia, law, charities, the arts, sports, science, medicine" called on them to become "friends of the Scotsman": see here. These Friends would pay for "a basic subscription package... less than £300 a year" and write and submit articles to dedicated pages of the newspaper. Stewart expressed a hope that each Friend would contribute at least 750 words six times a year on themes such as "Environment, Finance, Education, Food and Drink."
The invitation, though mentioning articles being "submitted", was vague on criteria for acceptance.
One freelance had a bold suggestion for the paper: "if some of these writers regularly contribute interesting stories which people buy the paper to read, then the "journal" could pay those writers a fee out of the profits to encourage them to write more, or even take them on full-time to write stories every day."
By analogy of people who write diaries being diarists, perhaps we could call them "journalists"?
Meanwhile, the Yorkshire Post, also from Johnstone Press, has Yorkshire Vision with copy submitted by sponsors. While the design is good, there would seem to be no time to sub the raw copy submitted by the PRs. Vision contributors get sent copies of the publication with their articles in it, to show off to clients.
The editors of the Freelance extend an invitation to contribute input to the Advertising Standards Authority (www.asa.org.uk) and to seek the ASA's views on whether such developments would comply with their strict guidelines on the labelling of "advertorials" in newspapers and magazines.