typical "Health and Fitness Feature" sections in
many newspapers genuine opinion and hard news pieces or are
they merely advertising sections?
a look at the fine print. Much of the time you'll find the
words, special advertising section, or something to
that effect qualifying the entire "feature" as being
a continuous ad section or what is known as an advertorial.
These advertorials are cleverly written. They look like real
opinion or information pieces written by a dedicated fitness
or health journalist, but in fact most articles are nothing
more than an ad that reads like an article. You'll be hard
pressed to find any detailed health and fitness tips in these
articles; just a few lightly written minor generic tips.
lists an advertorial as, "An advertisement promoting
the interests or opinions of a corporate sponsor, often presented
in such a way as to resemble an editorial", and, "an
advertisement that is written and presented in the style of
an editorial or journalistic report."
centers will place ads that are presented as an unbiased consumer
review of their facility, but in fact the only information
provided is a few cliché lines about feel-good exercise
followed by pricing and location information, and "how
affordable this great facility is". Nutrition "columns"
are written in a decidedly bias slant towards the products
of only one company, while mentioning only the pro's and not
the con's of the products, often with no real side-by-side
comparison of competing products. These are ads, and shouldn't
necessarily be taken as news.
your product is a good thing; the entire Rhino Fitness web
site is in fact marketing for Rhino Fitness. I do have reservations
though, with the practice of making ads look like the work
of independent journalists writing stories for a newspaper.
In fact, these pullout sections must now clearly state that
they are in fact advertising, albeit in small print.
go through the trouble to camouflage the delivery? Write an
ad as an ad. Be accountable. It is worrisome that these special
advertising sections may be taken as real journalism reporting
on the who's-who and the what's-what of health and fitness.
news is typically found in the first pages of the newspaper
where details of wars, car accidents, election results, scientific
discoveries, and so on are reported on. Opinion pieces are
a journalist's opinion inspired by the day's hard news. The
health and fitness "special advertising feature"
is found deeper in the paper, and is separate from the standard
hard news and opinion sections of the newspaper.
It is my opinion that these advertorials are fake journalism.
This dilutes the already sparsely available quality info available
on health and fitness. It can be difficult to rely on the
accounts of advertisements for balanced reporting.
word to the wise; be careful what you read, there is a difference
between journalists reporting their opinions and hard news
and an ad made to look like the same. The whole concept seems,
even more confusion, even when a fitness article is not an
ad, it is often a review of some fad exercise scheme that
depicts a journalist put through their paces at a local gym
or "boot camp". The journalist haplessly reports
how out of shape they are and how so-and-so super trainer
"made them hurt" during their first and subsequent
workouts. In fact, exercise is not supposed to hurt at all
during the beginning phases, with any pain or discomfort being
a sign of going too hard. But we're so conditioned to associate
"quality" exercise with pain and sacrifice that
to hear of easy exercise causes us to question the validity
of the exercise.
most columns that depict a person's journey through getting
in shape denote pain, suffering, and the immense effort it
took to muster up the courage to do "just a few more
miles", or "a few more repetitions" when really
they are fatigued and in pain. -Just a note- one of the top
reasons people new to exercise quit is because the routine
was too difficult to follow, having discomfort being present
in so much of the routine that it outweighed the possible
benefits of improved fitness.
never met anyone who got fit in six weeks, and I never will
because it can't happen, no matter what advertorials or hammy
"I survived boot camp" articles claim. It's true
of course that with regular exercise a person will increase
fitness over a six week period, but it won't be a transition
from couch potato to Mr. or Mrs. Six Pack. Sustainable gains
take time. Healthy living is about the rest of our lives,
not just the next six weeks.
of what we read on fitness is either espousing ritualistic
pain, a get fit quick gimmick, or is advertising made to look
like news. To be fair, the good stuff is out there too, but
is often overlooked because of a compulsive attraction to
diet and exercise regimens that promise huge huge improvements
in a short time.
Careful what you read, if it sounds too good
to be true...
2004 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness www.rhinofitness.ca