Hearst and H-E-B: A Beautiful Friendship

A San Antonio blog has broken an interesting piece of news about the San Antonio Express-News, the sister paper to the Houston Chronicle (a relationship that gets closer and closer as budget cuts force consolidation).

The Plaza de Armas story is behind a subcription wall, but Jim Romenesko's journalism site was given permission to reprint it.

The SAEN killed a column about how H-E-B stores in San Antonio's poor neighborhoods were badly in need of upgrading. SAEN editor Bob Rivard said the column, by a veteran reporter, didn't meet the paper's standards; critics questioned whether the fact H-E-B is a huge advertiser played a role.

His response (we added the boldface):

You are free, of course, to campaign against us by asserting without any evidence that we are not publishing what you want us to publish because H-E-B is a major advertiser. I'd suggest instead that we approach any story about H-E-B based on its long-standing and well-deserved reputation in the city, region and state as a best-in-class business, leading corporate citizen, and a company and ownership with an unrivaled record of philanthropy and support for public education in Texas.

Well, that certainly is one way to approach any proposed story about a giant, influential, heavily advertising institution.

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