A source inside the Seattle Times newsroom tells me that the paper's reporters are "dismayed" by their company's decision to pay for political ads supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and the Approve Referendum 74 campaign.

"It's obviously bizarre," this source said. "The newsroom was completely surprised by it this morning, and it will not make our reporting any easier."

A letter of protest to Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen is currently being drafted, and will be circulated among the newsroom employees for signatures.

Meanwhile, since Seattle Times Company spokesperson Jill Mackie just told me that the news department's executive editor, Dave Boardman, was among the first to be informed of the paper's political ad buy, I sent Boardman an e-mail asking what his reaction was when he heard the news. Boardman responded:

All I’ll say for publication is that I was not informed about this initiative until after the decision to do it had been made.