Nieman Foundation at Harvard
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Sept. 11, 2013, 12:03 p.m.

The Local Media Association published a report recently on native advertising strategies in local news outlets. Today, NetNewsCheck wrote about some of the highlights — not the BuzzFeeds or Atlantics of the world, but the efforts being made in this direction at papers like the Chicago Sun-Times and San Francisco Chronicle. In Chicago, a community news manager and “web presence manager” co-manage the native push, which is part of a larger social and mobile expansion.

Each advertiser in the native advertising program receives, on a rotating basis, a spot on the home page carousel at the top; a tile lower on the page, a headline in the “Latest News” feed that runs throughout the site; a presence on their “Market” directory page and one to two quarter-page print ads a month at prices ranging from $300-$800 a month, depending on how many different pieces of content they want to sponsor.

In Cape May, a development director found a way to make money off of “things that were currently being given away for free.”

Late in 2011, they began selectively charging to place press releases on their website and in the newspaper. Online, paid press releases have a byline of “Sponsored Content” and typically appear in the home page’s right column, which is mostly community-related content. In print, most press releases are not labeled because they are appearing in sections commonly associated with advertising.

And in San Francisco, freelancers create SEO-optimized sponsored content for individual channels at

The company charges $10,000 a month for one story a day.

In early August, the Hearst-owned media company also launched a sponsored content program. In this program, relevant content from the newspaper, website and from Hearst magazines is manually curated by four editors. At $5,000 a month, the company sold 10 packages within the first 10 days.

Yesterday, Digiday’s Josh Sternberg tried to ruffle some feathers by pointing out that The New Yorker had begun to experiment with native without anybody noticing. Perhaps that’s because the next frontier for sponsored content is not high profile media, where it seems to have already landed comfortably, but in the Naperville Suns of the world.

Writes Randy Bennett for NetNewsCheck of native advertising:

…it does present an opportunity to drive additional revenue based on newspapers’ core competencies: content creation and local sales. It presents opportunities for both large and smaller-market newspapers without huge investments and commitment of resources.

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