We saw an interesting question from commenter fpyaj95 in last week’s Q&A thread.

Q: How does the Post feel about accepting advertising money from corporations? Can it be unbiased in its coverage of these businesses?

Consumer Reports magazine accepts no advertising because their management believes that this is the only unbiased way to review a product. The implication of this is that if a publication accepts advertising money from a corporation they may not be able to objectively report on that company. So my question is: How do you feel about this? You accept advertising money from various businesses and corporations. Do you feel that you can be unbiased in covering these businesses and corporations? For example: If you place advertising for a large car dealership chain could you aggressively report it if that same chain was accused by someone of shady business practices in the way they sell used cars? — fpyaj95

A: From Post managing editor Raju Narisetti

Consumer Reports has a model that seems to work for it. The Post has always been a business and has been able to manage its business interests and its ownership of newspapers/magazines/websites — and all the responsibility that comes with such products — without compromising either. There is a good, working Chinese Wall between advertising and news, and I am very confident in our ability to aggressively and fairly report on any advertiser if there is a story that we deem worth pursuing for our readers. Reporters don’t see ads that go into the paper, just as the sales side doesn’t see articles that go into the paper, as both these groups use different systems — even if the product comes together later in the evening/night in the same system. It is rare, but not out of the realm of possibility, that an advertiser has threatened or actually pulled ads from the paper because they were unhappy with a story. As long as the story was accurate, fair and balanced, an advertiser won’t be able to influence the newsroom in any way. Of course, if we get our facts wrong or it is not fair, then we don’t need an advertiser to put pressure on us to get our act together. We owe that to our readers. So the Post is a great place for great journalism and is proud to be a business that accepts advertising. Readers buy the Post for both its journalism and its advertising.

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