When is a news article not a news article?

The Wangapeka brand has won multiple New Zealand awards for its cheeses over the past five years.

A news article discusses the current or recent news of either general interest or of a specific topic. A news article can include accounts of eyewitnesses to the happening event.

An advertorial is a newspaper or magazine advertisement giving information about a product in the style of an editorial or objective journalistic article.

Which of the two do you think this article on Stuff is?

Wangapeka farm and cheese factory on the market

One of New Zealand’s few integrated dairy farms and artisan cheese-making businesses is for sale.

Wangapeka Family Dairy is a 187-hectare farm, in the Wakefield area near Nelson.

The Wangapeka brand has won multiple awards for its cheeses over the past five years in various categories, ranging from washed rind, European-style or jacketed cheeses, through to fresh unripened cheeses, feta and camembert.

The property has a 165-square-metre cheese factory with chillers, a processing room, refrigerated storage space, and an office and staff room. It also includes a refurbished milking shed, three-bedroom homestead, four-bedroom manager’s residence and a range of sheds.

Sounds like a real estate ad so far…

The farm was bought by Karen and Daryl Trafford in 2013 who sold their 600-cow farm where they milked for Fonterra to create a smaller-scale “holistic farm-to-market dairy business”, with their whole family involved in the business at one point.

The farms has Jersey, Friesian-Cross, and Normandy cows.

Cows are milked once a day rather than the industry-standard twice a day , and calves are left longer with their mothers than most farms.

Wangapeka Family Dairy has branched out into the production of kefir, a fermented drinking yoghurt. Packed with probiotics and good bacteria, kefir is classified as one of natures sought after super foods.

Now it’s a bit more of an interesting back story for a specific topic.

Bayleys Motueka salesman Leeon Johnston said that under Wangapekas cheese-production business model, the freehold block milked up to 40 cows in the winter, increasing that number to up to 70 cows in summer. The farm and associated cheese-making business employ five full-time staff.[…]

-Stuff

Hmmm, the reporter interviewed a real estate salesman, this smells like an advertorial. The online story was jam packed with attractive photos that made it look like an interesting news story about a family farm. I wonder how much it costs to sell your property via advertorial on Stuff? I did think though that they had to mark advertorials as advertorials. Perhaps I am wrong? Nope, I’m right.

The public is entitled to know when it is reading, listening to or viewing advertorial because it will regard differently information generated by an advertiser in its own favour and which comes under the Advertising Codes of Practice, and information generated by the media in its own right which can be expected to have a quality of independence but needs to meet the tests of the industry’s Code of Broadcasting Practice.

-asa.co.nz

Of course, the only way to truly know if the article was an advertorial is to apply the money test. Was it paid for by the owners of the Wangapeka Family Dairy or their real estate agent? If it was then it is an advertorial and Stuff have failed to label it correctly and have misled the public.


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