Monday, January 15, 2007

UPDATE: How much for a friendly headline?

It would seem around $10,000 a month.

Updating my post from this morning about the CP story about selling headlines on Bourque Newswatch, I’ve noticed an updated version of the story has been put on the wire this evening, with more sources commenting.

Unfortunately, one of them is still not Bourque himself, but the reporter did get a rather cryptic statement from the Conservative Party:

Mike Donison, the executive director of the federal Conservative party, did not personally return messages about what his party receives as a listed Bourque client.

Instead, a recently hired party spokesman was given a single media talking point to deliver to all questions from The Canadian Press:

"I can't confirm anything but what I can say is we have commercial contracts with all sorts of individuals and businesses and it's not our practice to discuss the details," said Ryan Sparrow. "That will be the only comment we'll be giving."
We also learn that buying headlines on Bourque ain’t cheap:
Even at up to $10,000 a month for the headline service "it's really cost-effective," said a political source. You can also buy the headline service for a day or two at a time, as issues or stories arise that you want highlighted.

While it is not known which clients specifically bought headlines, multiple current and former clients say that as a paying advertiser, it is understood you will get favourable news links on the site.

Also interestingly, no comment yet from Elections Canada on the key issue, namely the treatment of such paid headline services under campaign advertising rules:

Elections Canada, which oversees the strict rules on transparency in paid political advertising during election periods, did not respond to inquiries about paid headline services.

I hope the lawyers at Elections Canada are studying the issue and will be providing further guidance soon, because I would suspect in the approaching election campaign all political parties will be looking more and more to the Web as a marketing vehicle. Some clarity from Elections Canada would be helpful.

Particularly, I think, for the Conservative Party, which seems to have had trouble correctly interpreting Elections Canada regulations in the past.

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paulsstuff said...

So when can we expect a statement from the Liberal party about buying headlines on Bourque.You know,seeing as they are listed as a client.NDP also for that matter.

Or perhaps an explanation about the blog dailycanuck,owned by the Element Group.The Liberal Party of Canada and Ontario are listed as clients.The head of this company also works for the Liberal party.

Anonymous said...

just in case you missed it, paulstuff, daily canuck recently posted this:

At least they wear their allegience on there sleeve...

Bourque's been dropped from my favourites. I'm a canuck!

paulsstuff said...

Anon,dailycanuck gives the appearance of Liberal affilliation,but also states it does not sell its headlines like Bourque.

If the site is bought and paid for by the Liberals without declaring it then you have no room to complain about Bourque,who by the way also has The Liberal Party of Canada and Ontario as clients.Funny how you missed that,eh?