Next week, the Orange County Register is launching three new weekly six-page insert sections dedicated to area universities. The UC Irvine one debuts April 1; Chapman University April 2; and Cal State Fullerton April 3.

Ahead of those debuts, LA Times reporter Kim Christensen questions the wisdom of the paper respectively partnering with each institution for the sections on a $275,000, one-year contractual basis. For that money, each university gets a half-page ad in 45 issues. From Christensen’s piece:

Some Register staffers have expressed concerns — most of them privately for fear of alienating their bosses — that the collaborative effort and the schools’ paid sponsorship of it will undermine the newspaper’s credibility and blur the line between advertising copy and news stories…

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