Raycom Boss: Stop with the Free Commercials

Raycom VP of News Steve Ackerman sent out an internal email and it seems that he wants an end to the free ads the news people seem to be giving away.

While it appears that Ackerman seems to be concerned about editorial standards, you just get the feeling he doesn't want these stories cutting into sales. 

It also appears that their clickbait partnership with Simplemost is coming back to bite them on the station's social media. 

Here's the memo, obtained by FTVLIve. 

Free Stuff:
We need station leadership to help manage the  “free publicity” we give businesses.  In just the last week, Krispy Kreme promoted half-price donuts and IHop promoted 59-cent pancakes. The campaigns were paid for somewhere, but ended up in many of our social media feeds and on some of our (and other) broadcasts.   When we use our social media platforms and broadcasts to push these things without any editorial context, we’re violating our editorial guidelines AND undercutting our advertising business.   We should (and WILL)  always defend the right of our newsrooms to cover stories, but we should NOT blatantly promote businesses without any editorial context calling it news.   One of our stations covered a traffic nightmare caused by the Krispy Kreme promotion and some outlets used Amazon Prime Day as the focus of a story about retailing—two examples of providing editorial context.  While our Broadcast Sponsorship Policy is clear about what we will/won’t do for OUR clients, it’s really up to us as News leaders to talk with our producers about what is newsworthy—and what is just free advertising.   Somewhat related, we are aware that a third party (Simplemost) has been distributing some of this content—we are simultaneously taking steps to better review that content before it appears on your social media platforms.