Friday, April 10, 2009

Front of Los Angeles Times Has an NBC ‘Article’

News or newsworthy, the front page of the LA Times has an ad. So does the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other publications. The difference is that the ad gave the appearance of being an article. In fact, the ad was designed to subtly confuse despite the fact that it was in a different font, had a typical style ad directly below it, and the NBC logo on top. Clearly it was not a hard news article.

So did it work. It certainly created pr buzz, generating discussion, blogs, and attention; but did it go over the line and harm the editorial side of the newspaper. In the long run, probably not, but it does push them further down a slippery slope. Profit over content; the LA Times might argue, without profit, there is no newspaper and thus no content.

Selling ads on the front page is certainly acceptable; the ad should be more clearly differentiated from what was done. Clearly labeled advertisement at the top of the column and not in font too small to read. Making ads more effective is not unusual, but not to fool the reader. Newspapers need more dollars to stay around. But it still doesn't solve newspapers biggest problem, the loss of readers to the internet. No front page ad/column will solve that problem.

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