So I visited the Burlington Free Press’ website, just to see if they had anything new to report.
And there, in the prime spot on the homepage, the location for its biggest story, I saw this:
Hmm, I thought. Strange time to be putting a feature article about Q Burke on the homepage, After all, the resort has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately — thanks to Bill Stenger’s continued struggles with state regulators over his EB-5 investment scheme.
And then I thought, well, they’ve got to fill that “Freshies” section somehow, so I guess they’re filling their news hole with a dual-purpose soft feature. Advertiser-friendly, but not outrageous.
But then I clicked on the link and scrolled down through the story. Which is, in fact, a very soft feature about Q Burke. And at the bottom was this note about the writer:
Jessica B. Sechler is marketing manager at Q Burke Mountain Resort.
Aww, jeezus. Really, Free Press? Advertiser-provided content occupying the best real estate on your homepage? Formatted as if it was actual journalism?
I guess their Church/State wall has been reduced to rubble. Hey, advertisers, c’mon down! It’s all for sale at the Burlington Free Press!