Watching the LA Times, where I contributed for years, implode is like watching a forty-mile death trudge; just when you think, it just can't get any worse, it does: yesterday, the publisher decided, over the vocal objections of the newsroom, to run an ad in the A1 column. That's the above-the-fold, left hand column, where the news of A1 importance usually goes. The ad was mocked-up to look like a news story, but was in fact a promo for a new TV show. (Responding to critics, publisher Eddy Hartenstein said, "Because of the times that we're in, we have to look at all sorts of different -- and some would say innovative -- new solutions for our advertising clients." It is this sort of intellectually flaccid "innovation" that's helped put the Times in a tailspin.) LA Observed, my nearly most favorite-ever site (and where I sometimes contribute) has the full coverage, plus a screen shot. And today, the letter below, from one of the many thousands of loyal LA Times subscribers who will no longer pay to see the paper decimated.
If you are keeping any kind of a count or anything, I canceled our family subscription to the LA Times today. We've subscribed for about 40 years. The paper's recent decline has been breathtaking.
When the customer service guy probed for a reason for our cancellation, hinting that I might want to say something about some perceived editorial bias, I told him that the Times's politics had nothing to do with our decision. Any paper that carries advertisements in its most important news space is a throwaway, I said, and it's just foolish to pay for a throwaway paper.
The ugly A1 ad for a television show is just too sad.