New plan for Sun's spots


In what has become an increasing newspaper industry trend to shore up stagnant revenues, The Sun told employees yesterday that it plans to join other metropolitan dailies in placing advertisements on the front pages of some of its sections.

In a memo yesterday to the staff, Editor Timothy A. Franklin and Managing Editor Robert Blau wrote that there are no immediate plans to put ads on Page 1 of The Sun. The timing and details of ad positions still are being worked out, they said, but such ads would probably appear on the front of the Business and Sports sections, at least initially.

Seeking to allay concerns about placing ads alongside news articles on the section fronts -- where the most important stories normally reside -- Franklin and Blau assured the staff "that these ad positions will not in any way compromise the integrity or independence of our news report."

The Sun joins other papers owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, in making the move to section-front ads. Jeff Johnson, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, announced Monday that his paper would begin accepting ads on the front pages of some sections, including Calendar, Sports, Business and Sunday Travel.

Earlier, The New York Times, Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal announced similar plans, with the Journal taking the extra step of accepting ads on its Page 1 -- a common occurrence in Europe. This country's largest-circulation daily paper, USA Today, has long run ads on the bottom of its front page.

John Patinella, general manager and senior vice president of The Sun, said the section front pages will be "premium positions," able to command higher rates than spots inside. A start date for the ads is uncertain, Patinella said, adding that he is "shooting for September."

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