More Messages: Ad It Up

Page one of newspapers has long been considered safe from advertising -- but this may not remain the case much longer. A recent article in Editor & Publisher, a journalism-industry trade publication, points out that several Northern California publications owned by MediaNews Group, whose flagship paper is the Denver Post, "are considering placing advertisements on the front page and section fronts for the first time."

Denver dailies haven't yet ventured into this territory -- but the Saturday, February 3, Rocky Mountain News came damn close. Approximately half of the front page was covered by a foldover promo sheet complete with a coupon for a free small coffee from McDonald's. Atop this offer was the Mickey D's logo and the lower-case catch phrase "i'm lovin' it."

Well, I'm not lovin' it, and I doubt that many other Rocky subscribers are, either. But with newspaper revenues tanking, publications will continue to seek out new revenue streams. The front page offers the sort of opportunities that make bean counters salivate -- and news consumers gag. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts