Dollars well spent?

Staffers at the Los Angeles Times were more than a bit shocked when they got to work Tuesday. Posted on the elevator walls were large photos of selected sports columnists and writers, part of a new campaign to raise the awareness of certain Times names among the Angeleno proletariat. (And, apparently, the paper's own staff.) This memo from John T. O'Loughlin, SVP/Marketing, Planning & Development of the Los Angeles Times Media Group, went around last week:

Dear Colleague-

Each week, over 5 million readers and online users come to us to inform, move, inspire, amuse and connect them. They want to feel smarter, more interesting and more involved as a result of their interaction with us and our recent research efforts reveal that cultivating emotional connection between them and our unique content is one of the best ways to increase the amount of time they spend with us.

With this in mind, we are launching “Your Times” a new, multimedia campaign that will put faces and context to our bylines and editorial personalities who represent the very heart and soul of who we are - why we matter ­ and how that is of value. Most importantly, “Your Times” will address the average reader's question of “What’s in it for ME?”

The campaign kicks off tomorrow with our sports personalities (“The Offense”), followed in the coming months by our political writers (“The Politicos”), entertainment journalists (“The Entertainers”), and will also include writers and columnists who our readers consider to be among the most topical (“The Storytellers” and “The Trendspotters”). We’ve tied “Your Times” collective themes (sports, entertainment, etc.) to correspond with peak “seasons” of consumer interest ­ directly targeting our infrequent readers and underscoring our relevance to them.

We have an aggressive, local media plan for “Your Times” that includes a variety of paid and trade media such as movie theater trailers; event and panel appearances; in-paper, online, collateral, billboard; video, radio, television and print interviews; and a special micro-site at
http://www.latimes.com/yourtimes.

All well and good (I suppose), but the part that some people inside found interesting is that the anointed sports personalities pointedly do not include columnist J.A. Adande — fueling speculation that the slight is behind his filing for the buyout. Adande is African American, but the campaign does include another black sportswriter, Lonnie White. Yet another prominent LAT sports figure omitted: Christine Daniels.


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