'NY Times' decides front-page advertisements are fit to print


LOYAL READERS of the New York Times were left spluttering into their coffee cups on Monday morning when their beloved paper was encroached upon by a controversial innovation: front-page advertising.

The decision to strip a display advertisement for CBS television across all six columns at the bottom of the front page is the latest move by the paper to find ways out of the financial crisis. In recent weeks the New York Times Company has tried to remortgage its flagship new headquarters on Manhattan's Eighth Avenue, and has merged sections of the paper.

The move brings it into line with other US newspapers which have succumbed to commercial imperatives and broken with the tradition of editorial-only front pages. The Wall Street Journal started taking page-one advertisements in July 2006.

But this argument will not assuage traditional readers, who have long looked to the front page of the New York Times as a bastion of editorial standards in an increasingly commercial world. While the page, with its multiple stories turning to inside sections, is often criticised for poor design, it is equally often held up as a model of editorial excellence.

CBS nodded to the groundbreaking nature of the edition by headlining its advertisement "Front Page News", the font size of which is larger than any of the editorial headlines on the page.

The newspaper said it would only place advertisements on the lower half of the page. Its motto, "All the news that's fit to print", still appears on the front page.

The paper has been struggling from a sharp decline in advertising revenue since the credit crunch. It continues to attract almost three million readers a day, but its share value has fallen by 55 per cent in the past year. - ( Guardianservice)