updated 10/25/2005 9:18:00 AM ET 2005-10-25T13:18:00

Call it pay for praise, greenbacks for good news, bucks for beneficial publicity. The Newark City Council has awarded the Newark Weekly News a $100,000 no-bid contract to publish positive news about the city.

Howard Scott, who owns Newark Weekly News, pitched the idea to the city council, which unanimously approved the idea earlier this month.

"Do we have critical reporters on staff? No. Do we have investigative reporters? No," Scott said. "Our niche is the good stuff. People have come to know it, and they love it."

Under the contract, the paper will work with the city's public information office to spread positive aspects of the city.

The paper can only generate stories based on leads from the council and the mayor's office.

John O'Brien, executive director of the New Jersey Press Association, said it was bad public policy to use tax dollars this way.

"The press role is supposed to be that of a watchdog," O'Brien said.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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