Nikki Finke Responds to Two Papers Disputing Claims on Movie Ads

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By: E&P Staff

Nikki Finke, the widely-read columnist for L.A. Weekly in Los Angeles, wrote to E&P this afternoon to respond to an article we posted earlier today.

On Aug. 18, E&P (and many others) covered a column she had written about movie studios planning to cut back their spending on advertising in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times. By Wednesday, we had finally gotten responses from those two papers, and quoted from them. In her letter, Finke pointed out that reporter Jennifer Saba had not asked for her response to the response, then explained:

“First, how interesting that Los Angeles Times spokesperson Martha Goldstein gave you a statement calling my column ‘misleading.’ Not only have I not heard any official or unofficial response from the LAT, I was speaking to the always polite Goldstein yesterday on another matter and asked if she’d read that column. She said she found it ‘very interesting.’ Here was a perfect opportunity for her to call me on the carpet, refute my information, etc. She did neither. Now she purports that young people are loving the LAT and that movie ads in the paper are reaching their target audience. So I must ask, on what planet? The truth hurts.”

Goldstein tells E&P that her paper’s response was actually provided by David Garcia, Times director of media relations.

Finke continues: “As for New York Times spokesman Catherine Mathis, I also have heard no official or unofficial comment on my column from that media outlet. But the week it ran, I was inundated with calls from newspaper financial analysts. One of them told me he had just spoken to Mathis, who he said went out of her way to praise me as a very good reporter.

“Obviously, I stand by my story. But I do believe that you are misleading your readers with your characterization of it today. Saba writes, I ‘opened fire’ and I ‘charged’ as if I were writing scandalous accusations instead of a well-reported and mildly toned column. Also, since when did any of my columns containing media criticism ‘rile the top brass’ at both newspapers, as Saba claims? News to me: I’ve heard nothing to that effect. I know they read it, and I know they dislike some of it. But I have no evidence to support her contention that I’ve ‘riled’ them. What’s next? LAT and NYT editors with pitchforks coming after me?

“Your staffer also fails to point out that I was reporting events that were occurring in real time and/or about to occur in the near future; in other words, decisions were being made or considered by the movie studios right then, so no impact would be felt yet. FYI, I can now report that three studios, not just two, have decided to cut back the display ads drastically.

“In summary, don’t kill the messenger just because I had bad news to deliver.”

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