Allen & Gerritsen (A&G) is issuing a call-to-action for agencies, brands, publishers and even individuals to help save local newspapers.
“It’s time to admit that the advertising industry has been culpable in the decline of local journalism,” says Will Phipps, senior vice president of media, A&G. “Agencies have been complicit by excluding ‘news’ from clients’ plans, fearing the unpredictable nature of the category.”
But the reality is, he adds, “that there’s a great opportunity in the local news community, and when we start to collaborate with our clients to seize these moments, we have the ability to help build back this critical pillar of journalism.”
The “Protect Our Press”” initiative asks participants to invest 20% of their programmatic advertising spend to direct or collective news buys and also urges the removal of news from exclusion lists. It also urges the evaluation of direct deals with local newspapers as part of the RFP process and pushes for commitments to maintaining support for media buys already invested in local journalism.
Boston Globe Media has agreed to a partnership to provide A&G with exclusive access to a premium advertising placement, favorable rate-card pricing structure, enhanced positional and quality guarantees, content collaborations and access to its first-party data — insights that are not typically available to advertisers. A&G leaders hope other publishers will agree to similar deals with their respective local agencies.
Boston-based Museum of Science is A&G’s first client to participate in the initiative, with an exclusive three-month sponsorship of all COVID-19 and Climate Change content.
While A&G has created the infrastructure to support this pledge, it is seeking additional support from as many participants as possible. Interested parties can find out more on the Protect Our Press campaign site.
“The decline of local journalism is a story of death by a thousand cuts, many of which have come from our industry,” says Andrew Graff, CEO, A&G. “I urge my industry colleagues to join A&G and Boston Globe Media in this pledge to chart a new course, and prioritize the preservation of talent and the essential storytelling of our local newsrooms.”