The "third arm": new forms of paid-for content in the South African print media
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In South Africa and globally, there is an ongoing critique of commercial media's relationship with advertising interests and a concern that commercial considerations are eroding the media's normative role in society. Critical political economists point to changes in newsroom organization and practice as evidence of a decline in standards of journalistic professionalism, and argue that commercial
pressures on revenue and to increase profit its have led to the conflation of advertising and editorial content. This study seeks to contribute to such political economy debates by investigating the role of commercial factors in media production, specifically in the area of media work and media content. Through an examination of the structures, routines, and practices employed by a South
African media company to generate advertising revenue, the research explores the implications of such strategies for professional practice and, potentially, for the normative conceptions and operations of the media.