At a time when most newspaper readers seek more front-page news, the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday turned over a chunk of its opening page to The Walt Disney Co. for a sprawling movie ad that included space where normally a top headline is placed, notes Grumpy Editor.
In the process, only three news stories appeared on the front page. Usually four to six reports run on its opening page. (This compared with 15 to 18 opening-page stories when The Times, with greater competition from five other dailies in the city, produced “newsy” front --- and larger --- pages with eight columns.)
The Disney ad, in white letters against a blue background, stretched across the top of the page, down the left side at almost a column width and full-width across the bottom in continuing the message.
“In the past, The Times has sold movie tie-in wraps around the front page, done fake front pages that cause controversy or sold a chunk of the page for advertising,” Kevin Roderick wrote on his LA Observed website. “This is the first time I remember The Times (or any other top U.S. newspaper) dropping half of the content on its actual front page for an ad --- in this case for an advertiser the paper regularly covers and a movie it will also cover.”
Roderick, who labeled it a “garishly unattractive Disney movie ad,” added that in The Times newsroom “there is a growing sense that the editors and publisher no longer care much about the printed paper, feeling that the future is digital.”
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