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In 1999, the reporters at the Los Angeles Times expressed shock and anger at the mere suggestion that the paper would be revenue sharing with a sports stadium in return for a publication. The staff felt betrayed, expressing thoughts that while special supplements are fairly common in the publishing world, what the L.A. Times had done was both unprecedented and wrong. What the Times had done was arrange an unprecedented revenue sharing arrangement that threw the state of their ethics into question.Smith (1999) quotes Ben Bagdikian, at that time a reporter at the Times, as saying that it was a supplement unlike others, which are typically filled with “puff” reporting pieces in which current advertisers “are invited to advertise.”  However, Bagdikian continues, “this is the first time that I know of and has been publicized in which the paper invited advertisers and said, ‘Let’s split the profits on this whole thing.’” (par. 7).Part of what concerned the reporters was that the profit sharing was not disclosed to the readers. However, perhaps to an even greater degree, the reporters felt that the paper had breached its ethical code.  Smith expresses the thought that there was a severe “internal distrust” at the paper, which led to the perception that the Times was participating in behavior that would eventually lead to public doubt in their reporting practices.Typically, the stakeholders in a company are those that have a financial investment in the business. In this case, the stakeholders would be the owner, the board of directors, and the people that had invested in the Times’ publicly traded stock. However, in a very real sense, the reporters have a stake in the newspaper as well, given that their credibility is tied to the credibility of the paper in which they report.However, the more they change, the more they stay the same. Today, revenue sharing is no longer shocking; rather, it is somewhat blatant. Weiner (2007) explains that the NFL salary cap and revenue sharing spreads money throughout the league, from large market teams to small market teams. However, as Weiner explains, there is more to the NFL financial process than meets the eye. In addition to the revenue sharing between the teams, the NFL also shares revenue with the media, “tak[ing] in a staggering amount of money from Viacom’s CBS, Disney’s ESPN, News Corporation’s Fox, and General Electric’s NBC television networks, as well as from DirecTV and Sirius Radio” (par. 3). It is an unbalancing state of affairs that no one seems to wish to call to the attention of the viewers and listeners, even if their audiences are vaguely aware that such a thing might exist. Not everyone is happy with this current system.Sandomir (2006) describes how various reporters at ESPN took issue with a series that would be run on baseball star Barry Bonds, arguing that the company had “put itself in an untenable journalistic position by aggressively reporting on Bonds’ pursuit of Hank Aaron’s career home run record while simultaneously carrying, at least through midseason, a series that provides Bonds editorial control of its content” (par. 4). At issue was the payment that ESPN was making to Tollin/Robbins Productions, which shared marketing revenue with Bonds (Sandomir, 2006). Of concern was the idea that ESPN was actually paying for access to Bonds, which benefited him by allowing him to rehabilitate his image during their coverage.What has the media learned, if anything, from these events. Unless these media corporations would remove themselves from what are potentially lucrative bargains with the teams that they cover, then it appears that they have learned nothing at all in the last eight years. The media are reliant on their viewers, readers, and listeners for their income. People in these audiences want to believe that the media are reliable sources of information, a belief that becomes difficult to maintain when there seems to be an apparent exchange of coverage for money. This difficulty increases when the people involved in the coverage are as high profile and possess such a negative image as someone like Barry Bonds. Sooner or later, those individuals who merely suspect that something is going on with what they see as biased reporting will become all too aware that the news that they have put their faith in for so long is not worthy of their trust. 

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