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NBC Co-Opts Newspapers

Yesterday it was the magazine industry debating the journalistic ethics of advertise on the cover of magazines. Today the Los Angeles Times has taken this debate one step further by creating a front page ad that looks almost identical to a story the newspaper might actually run.

Here is what the front page of the paper looks like today:
lat-front-page-ad.png

Can you spot the ad? Designed to help NBC promote its new cop drama “Southland” the “story” (aka advertorial) begins with the lede “It’s not every assignment that puts you in the back of a squad car, especially one that gives you a true glimpse into the hearts of the heroes behind the badge…” Sounds like a corny feature lede instead of a hard hitting news story. If advertisers really want to seamlessly integrate their ads into news copy, perhaps they should actually, read a newspaper first.

As far as ethics are concerned, with the economic crisis the newspaper industry is facing readers seem to be growing more and more indulgent of companies attempts at turning news into a commodity. Do you think this is right or wrong? Comment and let us know.

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