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April 10, 2009

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NY Times covered this with a full photo of the front page. It just seemed so cheesy. Like the ads that are faux articles in a body building magazine. Not that I read them. Much. But what are they supposed to do? I guess that's the million dollar question.

The old (Chandler) Los Angeles Times was my favorite American newspaper. They had so many special display inserts for cars and real estate that they had the luxury of being THE writer & reader's paper. If there was an article whether news or feature that interested you, you could count on being treated to an in-depth presentation and analysis of the topic because all inserts paid for the extra writers' inserts

The sports section was well above average but their college football writer was the best in the USA.

The Sunday Magazine was spotty and the entertainment coverage was subpar (probably owing to LA being an industry town). The restaurant reviews were excellent and Robert Hilburn did great double duty reviewing low-cost exotic eateries and punk, rap, and rock reviews.

The opinion section was appropriately mixed and they were never afraid in those days to publish really hard-left as well as hard-right opinion.

The puzzles and games were way too easy, but it was nice to see lots and lots of cartoons plus horse racing results in a "serious" newspaper. The tiny agate type fishing reports were amazingly comprehensive.

What was the deal with the LA Times and the Staple Center, ten years ago? Something like the Times running a special magazine for the sports complex and then sharing the profits on the ads?

Maybe a front page ad is innovative in the sense that the wall between the editors/journalists and the business aspect of a paper is falling -- for better or worse.

It can only and ever be for worse, at least, within this model of journalism. EVERY subject, EVERY advertiser wants to craft what is said about them; if writers/publications are in the pocket, there is no such thing as objectivity, as criticism.
Endless arguments can be raised about the biases in the media, and certainly, what you read in the National Review will not be the same as the New Republic. But both are giving their writers the freedom to call things as they see them, not shackling their opinions to the advertiser.
Both the Staples imbroglio (wherein the owners of the Staples Center would share in profits generated by a special issue of the LAT Magazine about the Staples Center, without the knowledge of the journos writing the pieces but with full cooperation and indeed orchestration by the new publisher, who was summarily jettisoned with a golden parachute) and last week's cornball front-page "story" -- really, how effing lame and unimaginative is this? -- cross a line that cannot be crossed without seriously eroding the credibility of the paper.

Southland!

On second thought, I remember the story about the weasel-y Oregonian salesperson and, in a way, could draw the same parallel with the front page ad shenanigans.

But I wonder what would happen if the entire front page were fake ad stories, but then...wait a minute...they aren't fake -- turns out a fake ad story opens a whole can of worms on the drug trade and...oh, god, some journalists are involved in some crooked stuff. The networks bust the publishers; Pulizer prize to the fake ad story.

Oh, I don't know.

This was just disgusting. The newspaper business is reporting the news maintaining circulation and selling ad space, in that order. They have gone off the deep end at the LA Times because Hartenstein is a salesman at heart, a board sitter and a threat to the free press as long as he holds the title, "Publisher."

I have read that the LA Times was going to run the add in all of Column 6. To an editor like me that would be akin to running a fully nude picture of Joan Rivers or Miley Cyrus in that hard news space. Come to think of it you could get away with full frontal nudity and the chief complaints would have nothing to do with journalistic integrity but merely sanity.

This restores my faith in the newspaper readers of Los Angeles that many of them tossed the Times on the ash heap where this sort of rubbish belongs by stopping delivery. This "drama" on NBC is not even worth the effort because it is targeted at the "tough on crowd" white male Limbaugh listener who really needs to feel that the wolf is at the door.

Wonderful reading you.

Qu'ul cuda praedex nihil!

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