Society of Professional Journalists’ leaders are backing journalists at The Commercial Appeal including as Trevor Aaronson and Louis Graham who opposed “monetizing the content” plans.

In a post to its website, the 98-year-old, 10,000-member organization said:

“As news organizations develop creative ways to create new revenue streams in a time of lower circulation and ratings, SPJ encourages journalists to keep a vigilant eye toward journalistic independence and integrity. A wall between news and advertising must be firmly established and upheld. The trust of readers, viewers and listeners is at stake, and once lost, cannot be retrieved.

“’I cringed when I read about an editor’s interest in ‘monetizing content,’ a phrase that needs a wall right in the middle of it,’ SPJ Ethics Committee Chairman Andy Schotz said. ‘Outsiders’ money should not be involved in the news process.’”