Times admits to ad backlash

It has become a sadly familiar syndrome: L.A. Times ownership or management betrays readers in some new way, gets panned, then the paper reports and publicly reflects on the controversy. I don't know if there's a column by Jim Rainey and/or Tim Rutten in the works, but in a story in tomorrow's paper about the fake-story ad printed on Thursday's front page, publisher Eddy Hartenstein plays the innovation card :

"Because of the times that we're in, we have to look at all sorts of different -- and some would say innovative -- new solutions for our advertising clients," he said....

Hartenstein said the ad netted a "significant premium" over traditional rates but declined to be more specific

Meanwhile, the paper's hold on its print readers keeps slipping, advertisers are wise to the paper's waning standing, and the paper once again gets notice for something other than its journalism. The ad ran over the objections of Editor Russ Stanton — the paper's former innovation editor — and at least a dozen other editors who e-mailed Hartenstein asking that the ad be "withdrawn or revised," the story says. The Times' Readers' Representative blog posts some of the 50+ emails it acknowledges receiving:

One step closer to canceling the subscription ... and there aren't many steps left.

The ongoing deterioration of a once-great newspaper reached a new low this morning.

Every time I think this paper can't get any worse, I'm unpleasantly surprised.

Get back to basics and start over.

The paper has deteriorated -- it is no longer an example of what a fine newspaper should be.

I honestly used to be proud to subscribe to the L.A. Times, but now I'm faced with a new disappointment nearly every edition.

Today, the Los Angeles Times lost its dignity ... and (after 43 years) a reader.

Here's the most poignant of the emails I received today about the Times:

If you are keeping any kind of a count or anything, I cancelled our family subscription to the LA Times today. We've subscribed for about 40 years. The paper's recent decline has been breathtaking.
For us, it was a decision that was much bigger than the monthly forty-six dollars. In our family we're committed to being informed and educated. For two generations we've earned a good living reading, writing and teaching.

When the customer service guy probed for a reason for our cancellation, hinting that I might want to say something about some perceived editorial bias, I told him that the Times's politics had nothing to do with our decision. Any paper that carries advertisements in its most important news space is a throwaway, I said, and it's just foolish to pay for a throwaway paper.

The ugly A1 ad for a television show is just too sad.

Steve Yuchno



More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Recent LAT stories on LA Observed:
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
Los Angeles more worldly since '92, LA Times 'more insular'
More recommended media coverage of the riots
Fiction does have a winner at LA Times Book Prizes
LA Times geography throws USC a curve
Previous story: Error o' the week

Next story: Jim Adenhart's pain

New at LA Observed
Follow us on Twitter

On the Media Page
Go to Media
On the Politics Page
Go to Politics

LA Biz Observed
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Advertisement
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook