Desperation strikes. Publisher Jeff Johnson just announced that the Los Angeles Times will begin to accept advertising on the front pages of some news and feature sections — but not the front page of the newspaper. In a way, it's more proof of the adage around the Times offices that every old idea comes around again and is sold as "new." In the bad old days of General Harrison Gray Otis and his son-in-law Harry Chandler, the Times ran ads everywhere. Of course you could also buy your way into the news columns, but that's a different topic. Anyway, Johnson's memo follows:
TO: Times Employees
FROM: Jeff Johnson
SUBJECT: Section Front Advertising
Because of our unparalleled reach in Southern California and our strong readership, advertisers have long wanted to place their advertising on the section fronts of The Times' news and features sections.
To meet those needs, we have decided to introduce a new premium advertising position on the section front pages of our Business, Calendar, Sports and Travel sections. We also are evaluating whether similar revenue opportunities are appropriate for our other sections.
We have no plans for ads on A-1.
These new ad positions will be sold selectively to premium advertisers, with very specific standards on ad content, size and position. These standards will ensure that section front ads meet the equally demanding standards we've set for our editorial content.
By introducing these new positions, we join select other industry leaders that have made similar changes, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune. These industry changes acknowledge today's challenging advertising environment. To remain competitive, we must offer advertisers innovative new ways to reach our large and influential audience.