In a weird bit of synergy that I wasn't super psyched about, we had a lot of positive editorial coverage of Gio Taco, a not-entirely-cheap taco based restaurant located downtown beneath a student housing project. These things happen, but gosh, for some readers, the double whammy of some mentions in our 100 Essential Dishes feature combined with a largely positive review the next week was a sign of some sort of conspiracy. One reader, who really didn't enjoy his experience at Gio, used the occasion to accuse the Weekly of writing material based on who advertises with us.
While (as far as I know) Gio Taco hasn't advertised with us—blowing a bit of a hole in that theory—let me just get this out of the way: The Weekly has never shown preferential treatment to advertisers (to my knowledge) and as long as I'm editor, it never will. There's no pay-to-play editorial coverage that comes with buying an ad, unlike some other publications in town. Our writers write what they want to write and I make every effort to not alter their opinions or preferences in the editing process, even when I personally disagree. I believe that my personal integrity and that of the Weekly as a publication are too valuable to even start treading into those waters. Honestly, I think a lot of our advertisers choose us because we are a trusted source of information. Choosing a different path would likely cost us money as well as respect.
Disagree with us? Fine. There's a lot of content in our paper that's based on subjective assessments of quality. However, if you want to accuse us of lacking basic journalistic ethics, you're in for a fight.