Monday, November 20, 2006

Media Watch--Virginian Pilot Fails it's Readers

On Wed, November 15 The Virginian Pilot ran a story entitled "Pills and Bills" comparing generic drug costs and advising its readers on pharmacies they could choose from.

Amazingly enough they left out a major cost cutting pharmacy in the region. Consumer Reports has identified Costco as providing the best deal on medications in the country. There are three Costco stores in our region AND the medications are also available via the internet.

Costco also allows non-members to use their pharmacy so the annual membership price is not a factor.

I contacted Michelle E. Shaw, one of the reporters of this story, During our conversation Ms. Shaw affirmed she was familiar with Costco and the Consumer Reports information. When asked why Costco was excluded from the story Ms. Shaw stated that it was because they only had three stores in the Hampton Roads region and the criteria for selecting the pharmacies was clearly stated in the story.

I read the story and I "missed the criteria that Ms. Shaw was referring too.

It's too bad that the Virginian Pilot readers were not given the information that would have directed them to what is most likely "the best deal in town."

One has to wonder if advertising revenues have anything to do with "leaving out 'Costco'." Costco is often called the biggest retailer that you haven't heard of. Costco relies on word of mouth, internal advertising, and rarely spends money advertising with corporate media.

The Virginian Pilot did a disservice to it's readers by not mentioning Costco as a valuable resource to check out when comparing prescription drug costs.


akesling said...

Maybe it was one of those commercials disguised as a "news report." Wonder how much money either the reporter received, or ad money the Pilot received from the companies the paper promoted in this article? Hmm...

Mosquito said...

Akesling....If only we had the resources to "investigate" the relationship between the Virginian Pilot's reporting and their advertising department.

I remember when I was a kid, a local merchant was told if they purchased and ad they could get an article. I would bet the lines are "fuzzier" or nonexistent today.

Wonder if anyone in the Virginian Pilot news and/or Advertising Department might cough up the news via the Hampton Roads Indy Media website or even a Virginia blogger?

The Bottom Line for be a savvy citizen do NOT trust Corporate News Sources.