Is the LA Times trashy?

I get the paper (4 days a week) but I don’t check it first thing. So I was shocked when my friend Bruce told me he cancelled the Los Angeles Times today. He’s one of only a couple of friends who still get the paper! Oh, no! We can’t exchange complaints and info!

I asked him why, and he said “Johnny Depp is on the front page.”

“I don’t understand. I don’t like him either, but…”

“No, his face was all over the front page. They did this once before, and it just makes the paper look so trashy.”

johnny depp on LA TimesI had no idea what he meant, but I wanted to tell him about a trashy editor of a woman’s magazine who had been so rude to me today, so we changed the topic.

Now I just heard John and Ken on KFI talking about the same thing! I ran to get the paper out of the plastic bag, and, um, it does look pretty bad. It’s a fake front page, with a hideous photo of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in the new release of Alice in Wonderland. (Does Johnny Depp have a big space between his teeth? Euwww. His hair is wild orange like Carrot Top.)

The photo and the ad, all in color,  covers the entire front page, except for a few paragraphs on either side and the top pretend masthead. It really looks like the front page – they call it a cover-wrap.

Unattractive, but this is an industry town. I’m not offended.

Oh My Gah, I just saw that the NY Times reported on this!

The top editor of The Times, Russ Stanton, and several of his deputies vigorously opposed the ad before it was published, but they were overruled by the paper’s business executives, according to people with direct knowledge of the dispute, who were granted anonymity to discuss private conversations.

John Conroy, a spokesman for The Times, said, “Stretching the boundaries was what we were going for.” He said Eddy W. Hartenstein, the publisher and chief executive, and other executives would not comment.

Mr. Conroy noted that however unorthodox the ad may be for print, it mirrors a common practice online of having an ad cover part or all of a Web site’s home page for a few seconds.

Well, that’s true.

The “Alice in Wonderland” ad, which also wraps around the paper, introduces a new wrinkle, lending the name and work of The Times to an advertiser.

Oh, fun, the LA Times is spinning this as a creative success story!

Timed to coincide with the release of the highly-anticipated “Alice in Wonderland,” starring Johnny Depp, The Times is the only major newspaper in the country to carry the innovative ad unit, conceived to launch the film in the most creative and unexpected manner to Southern California’s key movie-going audiences and creative community.

No, I’m not going to make a dumb joke about the Times going down the rabbit hole. Unh unh.

2 thoughts on “Is the LA Times trashy?”

  1. It looks like THE TIMES is taking lessons from THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER which frequently wraps its issues in second covers whose sole purpose is advertising. Hey, gotta pay the bills and you’re right: L.A. is an entertainment industry town.

    Depp is one of my favorite actors and I’m looking forward to seeing Tim Burton’s version of “Alice In Wonderland.”

  2. I kind of forgot that, Geri, thanks. I had a lot of lookers at this, particularly from Japan, interestingly.

    I don’t like him, so, eh from me.

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