Monday, January 05, 2009

Front-Page Ads

So, The New York Times has started selling ads off its front page. It's not the first major newspaper to do so—in fact, the only major newspaper left that doesn't sell ads off its front page is The Washington Post—but it's still a sad reality. There is something to be said about the front page of a newspaper being devoted to, well, news.
I once saw a question on a journalism ethics test that asked would-be editors-in-chief if they would put an ad on the front page for an exorbitant sum, and the correct answer was assumed to be yes. The good the money could do the newspaper outweighed the unfortunate reality of having an ad on such prime journalistic real estate. And I have no qualms with that approach in theory, but it still does seem like selling out in a way one would hope a paper like The NY Times wouldn't have to.
Though as fewer people read The Times in print, fewer people will be bothered by this, I suppose. And maybe it's taking the Web model to heart—no one would suggest that a newspaper Web site not publish ads on its home page.
Still, the colorful CBS ad makes me sad.


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