About our Sponsored Content

The Sun-Times follows these guidelines for sponsored content in order to ensure full disclosure and transparency. We promise to:

  • Clearly label sponsored content.
  • Adhere to journalism’s core values of honesty, integrity, accountability, and responsibility.
  • Credit sources of content or ideas.
  • Ensure that the reader understands the source, sponsor, and intent of the content.
  • Use real names with all work.
  • Disclose all potential conflicts of interest, both to the client before accepting the assignment and to the reader in the final work.
  • Pursue all avenues of inquiry to report and write stories with fairness and honesty.
  • Use professional writers and give writers credit for their work.
  • Employ distinct design/labeling so readers don't confuse custom content with editorial content.
  • Ensure that websites/online channels will be updated in a responsible and timely manner.
  • Create social media signatures that are clearly labeled as sponsored.
  • Reserve the right to approve content to guide against conflicts of interest or potentially harmful alliances.

We also promise that no member of the editorial staff may be involved in the research, writing, or production of custom publishing content. This policy applies equally to custom publishing content in print, in digital, research and events.

Adapted from: Society of Professional Journalists + Contently.com’s Code of Ethics for Journalism and Content Marketing.

What is Sponsored Content?

Advertisers pay for the opportunity to associate their brand with quality reporting of topics that interest their target audience and align with their brand’s mission. While the advertiser is involved in choosing the topics they sponsor, they do not directly participate in the creation of the content. STM Custom Studios editors research topic areas of interest to our clients, who are then given the opportunity to sponsor the content created by and with the discretion of our writers and editors.

Sponsored content strives to provide useful, educational, or entertaining information on its own merit. It is produced by STM Custom Studios, and will be distinguished with the following labels: “Brought to you by,” “Presented by,” or “Sponsored by.”

What is an Advertorial?

Sponsored content differs from advertorials, which also run in the Chicago Sun-Times. Advertorials are content that is submitted by an advertiser, which can be either written by the marketer or rewritten by the custom media division. Different from sponsored content, this promotes a specific advertiser brand through topics that are dictated by advertiser. It is distinguished by the word, “Advertisement” in the Chicago Sun-Times.

How you’ll know you’re reading sponsored content on the Sun-Times

Print: Different typefaces and the clear labeling of content set this apart from standard news stories. These articles will be clearly marked “Paid for…” or “Produced by…” at top of the page. If the content appears as a part of page, it will be separated from editorial by double rules.

Online: Sponsored stories online are marked “Sponsored” both on the front of site and on top of the story. In some cases, these stories may appear in separate sponsored section altogether.

In digital and print editions of the Sun-Times, advertorials will always be labeled as “Advertisement.”

Updated June 2014