A few weeks ago, The Los Angeles Times printed an ad on the front page of its newspaper, a true sign of the economic situation our country is facing. The ad, for NBC’s new show Southland, appeared in a blocked of section to the left of the page, and while it was printed in a different font, the average reader probably wouldn’t have distinguished it from other editorial content. In every communications class I’ve taken over the past three years, we have discussed the ethics of a situation like this, and I was completely shocked when I heard the story.
Since the explosion of the internet, the newspaper industry has been suffering, and the current situation obviously isn’t helping matters. But I thought it was highly unusual that The LA Times, rather than a smaller newspaper, would be the first to break this cardinal rule of journalism. Then I thought about it again. People in LA have undoubtedly adapted to the technological age faster than other areas of the country, leading them to prefer their news online. In addition, they tend to be more concerned with the environment, therefore interested in not wasting paper. So could The LA Times really hurting more than local newspapers? I haven’t seen the statistics, but it’s definitely an issue to ponder.