Belfast Telegraph

Paid-for content guidelines for INM sites in the UK

Independent News and Media’s publications, including the Belfast Telegraph, sometimes produce and/or publish content with funding from third-party companies or Government. Our online platforms can feature a range of content from third parties.

INM values its strong relationship with its audience and it is important that there is transparency around content of this nature and that it is clearly delineated from regular editorial coverage.

The content will have one of the following labels: ‘in partnership with’, ‘sponsored content’, ‘advertorial/ad feature’ and ‘promoted links’. In addition, INM will sometimes produce ‘promotional features’ to promote upcoming INM events.

‘In partnership with/in association with’

‘In partnership with [client]’ is used to describe editorially independent content. We accept funding from third parties both for new projects and for content we are already producing. Before funding is agreed with a client, relevant Editors are consulted about its suitability and the Director of Publishing has the final say on whether a funding deal is accepted.

A client whose branding appears on editorial content may have a role in suggesting what kind of topics are covered but not how they are covered. The commissioning editor is not obliged to accept ideas from the funder. The content is written/produced and edited by INM journalists or contractors/freelancers commissioned by INM. There is no prior copy approval. Some of this content will be funded by public or private sector clients and provides an important public information function.

‘Sponsored content/Sponsored features/Sponsored’

‘Sponsored content’ is a label also used to describe content that is paid for but remains editorially independent. The content is written/produced and edited by INM journalists or contractors/freelancers commissioned by INM. There is no prior copy approval.

Sponsored content that appears on INM’s websites in the UK is subject to regulation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). It will be marked as Sponsored, including in any related posts on social media.

‘Advertisement feature /Advertorial/Ad feature'

This label is used to describe advertisement features that are paid for and controlled by the advertiser rather than the publisher and are subject to regulation by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK. This content, commonly referred to as ‘advertorial’, is commissioned by commercial departments. It may involve INM staff journalists or may be produced by the advertiser rather than INM. The advertiser has final sign-off. Native advertising created by advertisers that appears on INM’s websites in the UK, will be clearly marked as ‘advertorial’ or ‘Ad’ – including in any related posts on social media.

‘Promoted links’

Some of our webpages will feature links promoted by recommendation engines such as Outbrain or Taboola. These will appear in blocks of content and will be clearly labelled as ‘Promoted links’, the recommendation engine in question will be clearly visible and will include the ad choices logo. 

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