Jamie Gold, the reader’s representative at the Los Angeles Times, responds Tuesday to a reader who wanted to know why the big increase in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday didn’t merit front-page coverage after the big drops last week were on the front page.
Gold writes, “The story about the Dow Jones’ ‘exuberance,’ as the print headline put it, ended up on the front of the Business section. The lead story on Page A1 Tuesday was news of the government’s pumping $250 billion into banks. On Monday, Reza might be encouraged to know, editors had discussed the possibility of putting the Dow Jones story out front on Page A1. But ultimately, as Business Editor Sallie Hofmeister said, whether a story will cheer people or not isn’t really a consideration on where it goes in the paper.
“‘While the market rally is very important,’ Hofmeister said in an e-mail, ‘there was no way of telling yesterday whether this was a one-day blip or a sign that we had hit the bottom. At the end of the day, the news about the banks was more important. We don’t determine the placement of stories based on whether they would cheer people up or not. It has to be based on the merits and the importance.
“‘Markets go up and down and while we were up dramatically yesterday and could have justified putting it on A1, there was too much competition, with the fire and the elections around the corner. Today, the Dow is back down, showing that we are in volatile times that make it difficult to draw a conclusion.'”
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