A front-page story in the new L.A. Business Journal raises ethical questions about a Daily News ad executive's email overture to "mend fences" between the paper and a frequent target of its news coverage and editorials, the city Department of Water and Power. After the DWP pulled its ads from the Daily News to protest unfair coverage, Chris Lancaster -- director of government relations and new business development for the DN's corporate side -- contacted the utility's top official offering to set up a meeting with publisher Tracy Rafter. The thing is, the LABJ story doesn't say if the meeting happened [oops, it does say--the DWP refused the meeting], and there's no hint of the news staff being influenced or even aware of the communication. Maybe there's more to the story that's not being reported, but it's hard to see what makes this front page worthy; you be the judge -- the story is free with registration on the LABJ site.
Inside, the Business Journal has a story (pay only) on further plans for redesign of the L.A. Times. “New sections are being planned,” said Joseph Hutchinson, the deputy managing editor for design and graphics. Redesign attention is moving to the news sections, business and sports, Hutchinson said. The story confirms that big-bucks magazine and newspaper designer Roger Black is still consulting with the paper (that must be going on four or five years now), and reports that Christian Potter Drury of the St. Petersburg Times has been hired as features design director, replacing Lisa Clausen.
Also on the pay side at the LABJ: Circulation at the Times for the past year is up slightly Monday through Saturday and down a bit on Sunday, up a midge at the Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, Long Beach Press Telegram and La Opinión, and down at the Daily Breeze. There are stories also on Comcast, Larry Flynt of Hustler and the L.A. based company behind the National Lampoon.