Church and state can exist completely apart, while in the world of a publication, the editorial department will always rely, existentially, on advertising. We’ve long ago bid adieu to the concept of paying for digital news, and so the lifeblood of any editorial staff will always be the team in the other room with slicker hair and wider smiles. But despite this, the church and state allegory has a deeper ring of truth. To what else can you compare those journalistic ideals of integrity, steadfastness, and a nearly ascetic avoidance of material influence, than to those of religion? Sterling principles — in life, in religion, and in advertising — are merely theoretical; they’re something to aim for, but are rarely attainable in full. To label native advertising as the leading corruptive force in the modern digital newsroom is to ignore the industry’s most pronounced trends. What’s the influence of a sponsored post compared with the fact that a non-sponsored post is often judged solely on how many clicks and shares it garners? How often does an outlet’s success lie in partisan pandering? What modern publication can truly claim to be of the people without succumbing to the lowest common denominator?

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