About 12 years ago, while I was on the news staff at The Courier News in Elgin, Ill., the newspaper began placing advertisements on Page 1. For what felt like months on end, we hawked a chance to win a free Daewoo.
I didn't like it at all. The "journalism purist" in me feared we had crossed the line and, by doing so, had diminished our credibility. In short, I felt we had "sold out."
Today, as advertising is a commonplace sight on the front page and as I near the 10-year mark of self-employment, I have a more sympathetic take on things: my paper was simply trying to do what it could to make ends meet.
That's certainly the case with no less an institution than the New York Times, which recently began offering Page 1 ads for $75,000 a pop and even more on weekends, according to the New York Post.
Desperate economic times call for desperate measures.