Arjun Mocherla, president of the Texas Student Media Board, speaks at a Nov. 13 TSM committee meeting. Photo by David Maly

Native Ads Hit Second TSM Entity

TSM Director Gerald Johnson announced Friday that BurntX will feature two native ads.

Texas Student Media Director Gerald Johnson announced at Friday’s TSM Executive Committee meeting that BurntX is TSM’s “incubator project” and as one of its first initiatives the publication is putting out two native ads sponsored by the Fiesta grocery store chain.

Johnson said at the meeting that the publication received $3,200 from the grocery store chain and is putting out a sponsored Thanksgiving cooking video along with a listicle on the top 10 reasons to shop at Fiesta. Although proposals for TSM native ads in the past have been met with opposition, this marks the organization’s second implementation of them, along with a current Cactus Yearbook contest in which student organizations are competing to sell the most yearbooks in return for a marked spot in the book.

A 14-page proposal by former TSM advertising staffer Nathan Beddome in 2014 for Daily Texan native ads was met with opposition.

TSM Board President Arjun Mocherla said in interview that he "wouldn't even know what a native ad is."

Texas Student Media consists of The Daily Texan, Texas Student Television, KVRX Radio, the Cactus Yearbook, the Texas Travesty and, most recently, BurntX.

Native ads typically appear similar to journalism content but have the goal of advertising a product and are marked as sponsored. Though controversial, they've grown increasingly popular over the last decade, appearing in publications including The New York Times, the LA Times and the Austin American-Statesman, as journalism publications have struggled to compensate for declines in ad revenue.

TSM has faced tough financial decisions in recent years, leading to cuts on student wages and to its media products.

Native ads were even the focus of the latest South Park episode, which debuted Wednesday on Comedy Central.

Editor's note: David Maly has worked for The Daily Texan and the Cactus Yearbook, and currently does work for Texas Student Television.

TSM Board President Arjun Mocherla said he "wouldn't even know what a native ad is."