Saturday, May 12, 2007

Macy's Ads May Be Affecting LAT News Coverage

A question of journalistic integrity arose at the L.A. Times Friday in its failure to report explicitly on declines of Macy's revenues from April sales. The omission in a Business section story by Leslie Earnest and Ronald D. White took place in the same week that Macy's has been allowed to annoy Times readers by its wrap-around ads in the metro (California), sports and home sections.

On a day that the L.A. Times and the New York Times both had lengthy Business section stories on a decline in department store revenues across the country, the New York Times discusses the 2.2% revenue decline in Macy's stores explicitly, while the L.A. Times story does not.

The Times does show in a graph a 2.2% loss for Macy's under the company's "Federated" overall parent name. But the Earnest-White story fails to mention that Macy's is Federated, and many readers may miss that, while the New York Times does explain this, and its story, by Jeremy W. Peters and Michael Barbaro, says it is Macy's that being talked about, and it quotes a Macy's official.

Specifically, the New York Times story states, ""The parent company of Macy's Federated Department Stores, has attributed its sales slowdown over the last year to the outlets of the former May Department Stores, which it acquired in 2005. Today, it said performance was weak across its entire chain. Sales fell 2.2%.

"April sales were disappointing across the country in both news and legacy Macy's stores," said Terry J. Lundgren, the chief executive of Federated, who said that a May promotion event was moved up April "but did not expect the results we expected."

Again, there is no explicit mention of Macy's in the L.A. Times story, and I'm suspicious of the emission.

We can't count on the squalid Tribune Co., or its toadies in Los Angeles, publisher David Hiller and editor James O'Shea, to provide honest, straightforward coverage in the Tribune-owned L.A. Times. I think it highly likely that Earnest and White were censored due to the "friendly" relationship Macy's has established with Times executives through its wrap-around ads.

Again, I renew my call for a boycott of all Macy's stores, until they drop these ads, which are denigrating the paper, and begin receiving fair Business coverage in the Times.



Anonymous Paul F. said...

Absolutely! Here in Chicago and the midwest there are thousands of people actively boycotting Macy's for their elimination of our beloved Marshall Field's. Despite the fact Macy's has been plastering our major newspapers with the same huge, sometimes front page ads (in the Chicago Sun-Times), Field's-now-Macy's sales have plummeted due to the boycott and on May 18, Federated announced the Chicago flagship is "doing badly." Keep up the good work in L.A.!

5/20/2007 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in San Diego County I am boycotting Macy's for their takeover of Marshall Field's, Robinson's, and other regional stores. But I have to say that the Chicago Tribune has actually published more anti-Macy's information, slight as it is, than its counterpart, the Chicago Sun-Times. Most of the anti-Macy's letters to the editor have gotten in on Saturdays, the slowest day of the week, but at least they have been printed. I do think that Macy's near-monopoly on retail ads is deleterious to the news business.
A Marshall Field's Fan

5/20/2007 4:35 PM  
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