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LAT Runs Story On Controversial Front Page Ad

Today’s Los Angeles Times features an article about the advertisement designed to look like a news story that ran on the front page yesterday. It seems that the ad, which was for the NBC show Southland, was the brainchild of the LAT advertising staff:

NBC wasn’t planning to buy print ads for “Southland” until The Times pitched this concept, said Adam Stotsky, NBC Entertainment Marketing president.

The advertisement, which drew complaints from about 70 readers, ran over the objections of Editor Russ Stanton. In addition, a dozen editors had e-mailed Hartenstein on Wednesday night asking that the ad be “withdrawn or revised.”

Perhaps the LAT advertising department should read the following:

“It’s unwise and ethically problematic to have advertising morph into news content and style,” said Bob Steele, a journalism values scholar at the Poynter Institute and a professor at DePauw University. “Each step may seem like a small one. But each time you cut a corner, you create weakness in the overall product.”

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