Public Editor

Movie theater story reads like a trade-group promotion?

A reader emailed his objections to a story that ran in The Star and on KansasCity.com about a number of cinema chains that are exploring new ways of attracting audiences by enhancing the movie-going experience with better food, more comfortable seating and other lures.

In part, he wrote:

It appears that the Star published a freelance article underwritten by a movie theater advocacy group. The entire article, including the photo captions, reads like the kind of thing I see in low-rent professional-ish trade journals. The quotes are stultifying in tone and content. The descriptions of theater accoutrements is puffery at its finest. Everything is so ultra-plush and premium.

Read through the story yourself and I don’t think it’s too hard to understand where he got that impression. I don’t agree with him fully, as I find more of a journalist’s voice than a pure advertising copywriter’s.

But I do also agree (particularly as a theater patron who finds waiters walking through the auditorium, menu lights at viewers’ tables and other accoutrements of these places intolerably distracting) that the story subjectively feels too positive about an industry that’s dealing with a massive shift in how its customers consume its services. And yes, I understand fully the parallels to the print publishing industry here too.

I shared this reader’s feedback with the story’s editor, and she said she understood his point of view.

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