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LA Times running front page ads disguised as news stories, kind of like they did during Obama’s presidential campaign

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By Doug Powers  •  April 10, 2009 10:24 AM

An ad on the front page of yesterday’s LA Times caused a stir (lower left of the page):

Ads “disguised as news stories” always generate plenty of reader complaints to newspapers (I only wish the people who get upset about ads that look like news stories would also raise a fuss about news stories that look like ads).

This time, however, it’s the LA Times newsroom that is doing the complaining to the paper.

Here’s part of the text of a petition that was circulated in the Times’ newsroom:

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.

If it helps ease the pain, guys, readers can’t really tell the difference anymore.

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