Editor’s Letter: We’re selling advertisements, and here’s what that means.

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Hi folks.

Here at The Rambler, we always want to be as transparent with our readers as it’s possible to be. Because of that commitment, I wanted to explain a big change that has happened, and is going to continue to happen, on the site. You may have noticed that there are a few ads appearing on our sidebars, and at the ends of our stories.

That’s because we’re starting to sell ads on our site. The revenues from these ads will allow us to expand our coverage, while still paying for all our expenses—including a fully paid student staff.

However, in the interest of transparency, I want take some time to explain exactly how that process works here at The Rambler, and to make some commitments to you, our readers.

First off, I want to clarify how ads are negotiated. While Rambler staff actively solicit ads from some businesses, a significant portion of our ad revenue comes from businesses which have approached us and want to reach you, our readers, with their message. All of our rates are mutually agreed on, and invoices are managed through the Transylvania University Accounting Office, where the revenue is incorporated into our general budget. In other words, we’re not raising funds for the University, and we’re not pocketing the money for ourselves—all our ad revenue goes towards improving The Rambler.

Second, we don’t allow advertising to interfere with our reporting; our advertising policies are governed by the same ethical standards that guide everything we do here at The Rambler. We do not, and will not, trade coverage for advertising revenue. We do not, and will not, consider the impact our reporting may have on our advertising revenue when we are shaping our coverage of the Transy & Lexington communities. We do not, and will not, offer differential or disparate consideration of ads by ideology, business, race, class, or other disposition of any advertisers. In short, to the fullest possible extent, we promise that there is a firm wall between the side of The Rambler that manages the advertising business decisions and the side of The Rambler that manages the reporting. That wall remains at the core of everything we do.

Third, I want to make clear that the ads which appear on our site are the products of the businesses, groups, and individuals that buy ad space; we’re not offering endorsements or sponsorships. For example, as the end of election season approaches, you might see ads from various political campaigns, both Democratic and Republican. That doesn’t mean that we’ve endorsed any candidate, party, or platform. If we ever do offer an endorsement, it will be in an editorial written by the entire Editorial Board, and it will be governed by the same strict standards regarding conflicts of interest and ethical conduct that we maintain in all our reporting. And if there comes a day where there is sponsored content on our site, that content will be clearly marked as such, and you as the reader will be able to choose whether or not to engage with it.

Fourth, I promise you that this site will remain a pleasant and fun experience for readers. There won’t be any pop-up videos, there won’t be any autoplaying audio, and there won’t be any full-screen splashes that make you wonder if you clicked a malicious link by accident. Our ads will remain unobtrusive, and our priority remains making sure that you can find our stories and enjoy them easily.

These ads are a part of a larger strategy which will unfold over this year, to make The Rambler into your indispensable guide to the Transy community. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the new and exciting changes coming down the track, and I hope you’ll be as excited about them as I am.

Tristan Reynolds is The Rambler’s Editor-in-Chief.