The Visual Boundaries of Journalism: Native Advertising and the Convergence of Editorial and Commercial Content
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionDigital Journalism, 2020. 10.1080/21670811.2020.1836980
This study investigates the visual objects that are used to either disclose or disguise the commercial nature of native advertising as news articles. We adopt a “material object” approach to explore the potential implications for journalism regarding transparency, trust, and credibility. Methodologically, this study used content analysis covering 21 publications in five countries: Germany, Israel, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. We analysed 373 individual native ads. The findings show that news outlets do not follow a consistent way to disclose native ads visually, negotiating the balance between transparency and deception. In this balance, news organizations do not boldly push for transparency and instead remain ambiguous. Our analyses show that both national and organizational characteristics matter when shaping the visual boundaries of journalism.