By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Further thoughts on the Times’ front-page ads

In my latest for the Guardian, I wonder why it took so long for the New York Times to accept front-page display ads.


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2 Comments

  1. NewsHound

    I am familiar with a Boston area newspaper in which most of the small staff was strongly against allowing Front Page advertising two years ago. An agreement was reached allowing, or allocating, only one ad per week on a revolving basis among advertisers who wanted to participate.Two of the four-person editorial staff were bothered enough to lose respect for violating the most “sacred” page and one left within a month and the second within a few months. The advertising sales people complied, but only to the point of allocating one ad per edition.At one time Bethlehem Steel years before it went into bankruptcy, had a CEO who boasted that his salesmen didn’t sell steel, they allocated it.Anyone who reads about the tremendous success and over abundance an arrogance of Bethlehem Steel and it’s demise may learn as much or more about how to run a newspaper as they would trying to learn about the newspaper business.One thing about those old newspaper types compared to modern journalists is that they wrote boring little stories about boring little things that people wanted to read in communities, towns and small cities that were read by committed, and maybe boring, readers every day. Page traffic and reasonably priced advertising on gray pages of small pictures with tiny faces produced the machinery that helped retailers be successful.Paying extraordinary rates for inefficient advertising that is camouflaged with large color pictures reaching penetration levels of about 25% in a market is a fast way out of business.Names, names, names was the keyword in local “newspapering” back in the old days. People don’t want to spend four or five years of post high school learning journalism to do church bulletins, school menus, honor roll lists, and simple police blogs and they don’t want to see the sanctity of the Front Page violated with advertising. Too bad, because now, more than any time in the past, newspapers have to be good to survive because of competition from other media.Newspapers try to hard to be too good by award winning journalists and designers at prohibitive costs for advertisers instead of producing a simple, local, news journal for its readers.

  2. Steve

    “What if The New York Times goes out of business—like, this May?Michael Hirschorn talks about the End Times of the traditional print media.

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