By: Allan Wolper
New York’s Daily News has adopted a new policy of informing readers when its writers accept free fares or hotel rooms from the resorts or corporations featured in its travel section.
Daily News spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the new policy is effective immediately: “We agree that our readers have a right to know when accommodations are provided by the people we cover.”
Institution of this new practice comes one week after this reporter questioned the paper about its policy and two days after the New York Post published an article attacking Daily News Editor Michael Cooke for writing an article about a press-subsidized trip to Bovey Castle, a luxury hotel in Devon, England.
When Murphy was first asked by E&P why the Daily News — which boasts a working-class readership — was publishing articles about high-priced luxury resorts, she replied: “We do it as a service to our readers.”
The New York Post article, by Keith Kelly, disclosed that Cooke’s piece on June 5 was almost identical to one he wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times last year when he was editor of that newspaper.
When asked Thursday about his own newspaper, which was known throughout the travel industry for allowing its writers to accept free or subsidized trips from the resorts they covered, Kelly responded, “I don’t report on my own paper. My paper is not on my beat. I always make a policy of being outwardly focused. I have been told that there would be no travel sections in many newspapers if it weren’t for the press junkets.”