Arkansas Times' David Koon has an excellent Media column in this week's Times about adman Gary Heathcott outing a North Arkansas publisher for refusing to print stories about kids from his area who win prizes at the Arkansas State Fair in retribution for Heathcott's ad agency not placing paid advertising in the publisher's paper.
While David's column is informative, the practice is nothing new.
Louie Graves of Nashville is a long-time practitioner of the policy of no-ads-no-news. Graves was quite vocal and forthright in saying for years that the price of getting news about local kids at the Fair into his paper was some paid advertising.
Mark Magie, formerly associated with the Cabot paper, once called a person who issued a news release about a Cabot kid who had been honored by a company. Magie said, "I got your news release, but you left one thing out." Oh, the PR flack replied apologetically, what did I forget.
"You forgot to include an [ad] insertion order with the news release," the unashamed Magie replied.
Once you get outside the boundaries of Little Rock, newspaper publishers are relatively straightforward: If you want to get news in my paper you gotta pay me.