Thursday theme park news round-up
The big news in the theme park industry this week has been the death of six visitors in a crash on a high-speed centrifuge ride in China on June 29. A ride vehicle on the Space Journey ride at the Overseas China Town East theme park in Shenzen broke loose, crashing into other vehicles as the ride spun. Ten other riders were injured, and the Chinese government is investigating.In less significant, though nevertheless depressing, news, here's the front page of today's print Los Angeles Times:
No, Universal Studios Hollywood hasn't been destroyed. The whole page is a "wrap" ad for Universal's King Kong 360/3-D ride. Kudos to Universal for scoring the ad, and I suppose I should congratulate the LAT ad department for what ought to have been a big payday.
But, as a reader and former employee of the Times, how depressing to watch the paper sell itself out this way. The point of journalism ought to be to inform people, not to jerk them around. I've long had a policy at Theme Park Insider that ads never should cover up the editorial content of the publication. That's why you don't see pop-ups or "takeover" ads crawling across the posts on this site. I'm all for Universal promoting and advertising Kong. But the Times shouldn't be selling Universal fake front pages to do that. Perhaps if the Times cared as much about its readers, the paper wouldn't be in bankruptcy and it wouldn't be hemorrhaging readers and advertisers as it is.Speaking of promotions, Dollywood fans might want to check out the Hallmark Channel at Saturday, July 3 at 8pm Eastern. The cable network will present a one-hour special, Dolly Celebrates 25 Years of Dollywood, featuring coverage from the theme park, as well as musical performances by Dolly Parton and guests Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, as well as Kenny Rogers. (Interesting to see a Disney Channel star plugging another company's theme park!)Finally, be sure to visit ThemeParkInsider.com tomorrow at noon Eastern (9am Pacific), when I announce the winners of the 2010 Theme Park Insider Awards. We'll be honoring the Best Theme Park, Best New Attraction, Best Restaurant and Best Theme Park Hotel in the industry, based on your ratings over the past 12 months.
I agree about the wrap ad. This is the third or fourth time the Times has done this, and it is very depressing to see a once great paper destroy itself like this.
I don't have a problem with it. A part of the reason old school journalism is talking fire is it's stubborn insistence on an outmoded sense of what constitutes journalistic integrity. This is clearly a promo and in no way dies it change my perception of the Times.
I should explain the "LATEXTRA" thing for out-of-LA readers, too.
Speaking of what's on TV, tonight's episode of Ace of Cakes features the opening of I-305 at King's Dominion (they provided the cake for Media Day).
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