Outside the box thinking

To: Los Angeles media outlets

From: Eddy Hartenstein, publisher, Los Angeles Times

Re: I call your attention to another innovative marketing campaign by The Times. This will be announced on Monday. Text of the announcement follows.

Dear Readers and Staff Members,

It is with great excitement and pride that The Los Angeles Times introduces its newest building-readership feature: The Page Three Girl.

In a rapidly deteriorating economic phase, unthinkable thoughts must be given their due. "The Page Three Girl" is my boldest answer to the troublesome question: "What is the future of print journalism?"

In my future, beautiful women clad from the waist down are the answer. Sex saves the British tabloids, and sex will, I believe, save the Los Angeles Times. I think this will produce the same kind of reader enthusiasm as has my order that one story with an animal appear on each day's Front Page.

L.A. Times "talent scouts," many of them among the involuntarily dismissed Editorial Department staff members, have been retained to find the most ravishing women in Los Angeles. We will begin publishing the Page Three Girl feature on Friday, July 24.

To those readers who believe nudity is an inappropriate technique for recruiting readers, and to the three senor editors who resigned in protest this week, I offer the following pearl of wisdom from Barney Kilgore, a fabled editor of the Wall Street Journal: "The easiest thing in the world a reader can do is to stop reading."

The Page 3 Girls will hold our audience and grow it further, something print journalism has forgotten how to do. And don't forget our Web presence, with special rates for subscribers in the mood for something more risqurisqué than a mere topless pose.

Please prepare your families for the future of print: Page 3 girls, 7 days a week, coming your way on July 24.

Your Friend and Publisher,

Contributor Bob Baker sticks to non-fiction at his website about writing and journalism.

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