According to a representative of a local restaurant, a Denver Newspaper Agency saleswoman claimed in a recent call that purchasing ads in the Denver Post would lead to coverage from the paper itself. "She proceeded to say, in all earnestness, that if we bought advertising, then reporters would write about us more," says the source, speaking anonymously out of fear of retaliation. After that, "we had a little verbal jousting match, and I tried to explain the concept of separation of church and state" -- a term used in journalism circles to explain the distinctions between the editorial and advertising departments. "I explained that the editorial staff at the Denver Post would not be pleased at all if they heard this kind of proclamation. But she was dumbfounded. It seemed like a foreign concept to her."
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In the source's view, the timing for such an ethically suspect message couldn't be worse: "They need to rebuild their credibility, they need to rebuild their standards. And if the sales team feels comfortable saying something like that out loud, it's pretty shocking."