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News

Faux Front Page 'News Story' Ad in LA Times Causes 'Uproar'

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As expected, readers and writers alike were not happy about yesterday's NBC fake news story advertisement paired with horizontal ad on the front page of the Times. Around 100 newsroom staff apparently signed this petition:

We the journalists of the newsroom strenuously object to the decision to sell an ad, in the form of a phony news story, on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. The NBC ad may have provided some quick cash, but it has caused incalculable damage to this institution. This action violates a 128-year pact with our readers that the front page is reserved for the most meaningful stories of the day. Placing a fake news article on A-1 makes a mockery of our integrity and our journalistic standards.

The Los Angeles Times stands apart from other sources of news and information in Southern California because of our willingness to report the truth, even when it angers powerful interests or puts us in peril. Our willingness to sell our most precious real estate to an advertiser is embarrassing and demoralizing.

"Because of the times that we're in, we have to look at all sorts of different -- and some would say innovative -- new solutions for our advertising clients," Times publisher Eddy Hartenstein said in a story appearing in the paper.
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The meta story also mentions another big ad coming to Sunday's Calendar section. That ad, is also sort of meta as it is for the film "The Soloist," which is based on columns and a book written by the paper's very own Steve Lopez. "Although labeled as an ad supplement, the section's typography and layout mimic those of a regular Times news section," the story noted.

The reader's representative blog prints some of the 80 angry e-mails sent to the paper.