This is not the clearest of stories about the practice. A reader must wade through five graphs of stuff before understanding that the latest hospital-media partnership is homegrown and that maybe this relationship is not exactly one of arms length. Timid editors come to mind here. Did they really want readers to read the story? We wish the reporter had dug more deeply and supplied more context, but at least the story offers fair warning to St. Louis readers that all may not be as it seems with Barnes-Jewish and station KSDK. Media attention to these cozy deals may be what is required to end them.

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.