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September 13, 2011


Paying for Good News

The Los Angeles Times reports a municipal water authority in Los Angeles is paying nearly $200,000 in taxpayer money for a consultant to produce glowing promotional stories "written in the image of real news."

"The articles appear on a professional-looking news website called News Hawks Review. The site is indexed on Google News, carries its own advertisements and boasts an 'experienced and highly knowledgeable' staff of editors and reporters. But records show it is directly affiliated with a corporate communications firm under contract with Central Basin."

"It's fairly common for celebrities and private-sector businesses to game search engines to generate positive buzz or better sales. But Web experts said they had never heard of a public entity employing such a strategy to increase its visibility online."














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