In a fascinating David Carr column about the trainwreck that is Tribune Company’s management, we find these nuggets about the dying Los Angeles Times:
While its television division has since done well in the advertising rebound — over all, the 23 stations are on track in 2010 to pass $1 billion in revenue for the first time since 2007 — Tribune’s newspapers have continued to underperform the rest of the industry.
Advertising has been inserted into The Los Angeles Times in new and unsettling ways. In March, an ad mimicking the front page for Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” was wrapped around the first section and in July, a fake version of the newspaper’s section for late breaking news, called LATExtra, was wrapped around the real one, promoting Universal Studios’ King Kong attraction, with a lead “story” that read “Universal Studios Partially Destroyed.” In April 2009, an advertisement posing as a news article about NBC’s new show “Southland” appeared on the front page.
In July, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the governing body of the county of Los Angeles, sent a letter of protest, saying that the use of advertising disguised as news “makes a mockery of the newspaper’s mission.”
The ads do not seem to have helped. The Chicago Tribune’s circulation continues to slide, with weekday circulation down 9.8 percent in the first half of 2010. The Los Angeles Times is in worse shape, having lost 14.7 percent of its weekday circulation in the period. (Over all, the industry lost 8.7 percent weekly circulation in the period.)
I guess that fake front page we discussed recently is nothing new. Good to see it’s paying dividends!
It appears it is not too popular at the paper, either:
“You have advertising wrapping around sections and being disguised as news and empty desks all around you, and then you read about these ridiculous bonuses and feathering their nests with severances, you want to scream,” said Steve Lopez, a longtime columnist at The Los Angeles Times.
Steve, your paper has had fake stories disguised as news for quite some time, in case you hadn’t noticed. At first, it made me want to scream. Then I cancelled my subscription. I’m much calmer nowadays.
Looks like more and more people are taking my pathway to peace.
I used to want the paper to survive, and just get better. Then I got pissed off, and wanted it to die. Now I’m just getting bored waiting for the inevitable death to become final. Die, already, L.A. Times. Get on with it.