When the Times chose to stake its biggest website initiative on the dicey notion that Hollywood awards are a year-round obsession of its readers, my main fear was that the paper's urge to hype The Envelope would skew news judgment. Well, the paper has managed to run a lot of items that fit the niche, and promotion on the main LATimes.com page has been ceaseless. Today the sizable promo box near the top right of the page—super prime news real estate—achieves a new low. It's devoted to a photo gallery...of best actress Oscar winners...from each year of the 1990s. Who knows, perhaps readers who obsess about historical Oscar winners are extra desirable to advertisers. The text introducing the pictures might spoil the appetites of some readers too (emphasis mine): "From Kathy Bates to Hilary Swank, there were notable, and almost edible, winners in the '90s." Warning: thumbing through the gallery might bring up a video ad for the movie Breakfast on Pluto.
Also in the LAT: Tim Rutten writes in his Saturday media column that "As the Valerie Plame scandal and its spreading taint have made all too clear, the trade in confidentiality and access that has made stars of reporters like Bob Woodward and Judy Miller now is utterly bankrupt."
Also about the LAT: The blogger at LateBloomer explains how she kept subscribing to the Times because newspapers "were vital to a free society," even though "they're slow, hidebound, behind the curve—always behind the curve." But now she's out, because of the Scheer axing. Link via Nancy Rommelmann.