2016-02: Anne Foulliard vs. Globe and Mail

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A complainant who was featured in an article on exercise and living with arthritis alleges the
Globe and Mail misled her about the intent of the article.
Anne Foulliard objected to the placement of a large ad for pain medication near the story about
her experience living with arthritis. The medication company was the series sponsor. The
complainant said the placement made it look like an advocate for the medication.
Correspondence between the paper and the complainant indicated the complainant was aware
that her story was part of a sponsored content package. The story was not altered to support
the advertiser.
The NNC notes that placement of articles near advertising is not a breach of ethics or of
acceptable editorial practices. This, and the communications between the paper and Ms.
Fouillard, have satisfied the Council that the complaint should be dismissed.
However, Council notes the ad in the print article was far more prominent than in the web
article offered as an example for the complainant to review. The link offered was not a fair
example in this case. It also appears the complainant was not informed that her story would
appear in print and so there was no explicit agreement with the complainant for use of her
story in the sponsored content print version. In light of this, Council strongly recommends that
in future dealings with subjects of sponsored content, the paper must be more forthcoming
about proximity of advertising and story placement, and about the platforms, whether print or
digital, where the story may appear.