Does Louisville’s Salon Issue Cross the Line?

loumag.jpgThe October issue of Louisville Magazine just arrived. The cover? A model getting a spa treatment. Inside — 12 pages of ads and editorial on local salons and spas. The problem — figuring out where the ads end and the editorial starts.

This isn’t one of those rants about editorial integrity. The day for that passed long ago, especially in local publications. The fact is that it’s rare for newspaper and magazine publishers to come up with special publications that don’t have an advertiser focus.

From my vantage point, however, a cover focused on obviously advertiser-driven content like spas and salons is a step in the wrong direction. Sure, the magazine devotes plenty of covers to topics that motivate advertisers, but it’s different when the content is a true value to the readers – like the magazine’s guides to schools, lawyers or restaurants, for example. Of course, maybe it’s just that I don’t think the city really needs a guide to salons and spas, any more than it needs a guide to the best dentists or coffee shops.

There’s some good reading in the issue, too. Joe Atkinson’s story on the governor’s race gives a nice overview, a challenging assignment in a monthly given the rapid shifts that occur during the race. Cameron Lawrence’s piece on what happens to drunk drivers is well done. Either would have made a good cover.

One other complaint: Don’t rush to your computer to read the issue’s content. The magazine’s antiquated Web site still has the August (not September, but August) issue up.

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