The L.A. Times has found yet another way to anger readers and reporters both. A four-page advertising section will be part of Calendar on Sunday, designed to resemble editorial, promoting the Paramount movie ‘The Soloist.’
The New York Times weighed in here, and notes:
"The advertisement includes an interview with Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, who wrote the book on which “The Soloist” is based. His columns profile Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless, mentally ill Los Angeles man who was once a promising musician at the Julliard School."
A spokeswoman for the paper said the Times had done something similar before, for the movie ‘Black Dahlia.’
But the new ad section comes on the heels of an unprecedented front-page ad for an NBC show, "Southland," that ran along the left-hand column last week and raised strong objections from some editors and reporters.
A tense newsroom meeting on Thursday between publisher Eddie Hartenstein and the newsroom staff resulted in the understanding that not only was the paper not apologizing for such a move, but that readers and newsroom staff could expect more such "innovation" on the news pages.
LAObserved reported that Kinsey Lowe, a former editor in the Calendar section, cancelled his subscription over the decision, writing:
"Sorry ladies and gentlemen, but after nearly three decades I’m giving it up.
I support all your efforts but this latest affront is just too much to let it pass. Not the notion of selling advertising on Page 1, but the nature of the ad itself. What a desperately, astonishingly tired idea. It makes the Staples debacle look absolutely brilliant."
The paper also received dozens of emails lamenting the selling of the front-page real estate, published on the Readers Representative blog.