For the first time - maybe ever - the Kansas City Star has festooned its front page with advertising. While it doesn’t identify the bright red Super Target schmooze as an ad - it spans the width of the newspaper and stands about three inches high - that’s what it is.
How big a deal is it?
Here’s the reaction of one former Star staffer I contacted- who hadn’t seen Sunday’s newspaper- after I hinted at a change to its front page:
“Don’t say it, don’t say it - they didn’t do it - did they?” he gasped. “Here’s the question; why are they doing it? Obviously they need the money, but do they really need the money that bad.”
Asked for a take on what shilling for advertisers on the Star’s front page really means, he responded: “Who knows what it means - it’s not good. I think it means that they are desperate or smart or both, but they’re certainly desperate because they never would have done this once upon a time. There’s no way this can be a good thing; it’s a desperation move. Desperation is obviously happening.”
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I don't have an objection to placing ads on the front page... it's something that rankles newspaper purists but I think it's a smart move. Papers should have thought of it a long time ago.