Here is today's front page of the Los Angeles Times. Only three stories, instead of the usual six — and no Column One, the signature feature story that runs most days. The rest is a garishly unattractive Disney movie ad. Click on the thumbnail to see it bigger.
In the past, the Times has sold movie tie-in wraps around the front page, done fake front pages that cause controversy or sold a chunk of the page for advertising. This is the first time I remember the Times (or any other top U.S. newspaper) dropping half of the content on its actual front page for an ad — in this case for an advertiser the paper regularly covers and a movie it will also cover. In 2009, they sold a smaller piece of the news columns on the front page for a "Southland" ad.
In the newsroom there is a growing sense that the editors and publisher no longer care much about the printed paper, feeling that the future is digital. This is kind of a giant FU to the print readers and you could argue to the Times brand. Lots of big newspapers feel financial challenges. Only the LA Times among the big ones sells its most important news real estate.