Posts Tagged ‘Newspapers’

New York Times – Please Fix Yourself!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

The Daily Show’s Jason Jones systematically dismantled The New York Times in a segment on last night’s show:

I’m certainly of two minds about the recent buzz around the death of the newspaper industry.  I agree with what NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller says at the end of the interview — that firsthand journalism is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.  And that organizations like the NYT are the only ones who can pay for international journalism on a large scale (when was the last time you heard of any bloggers reporting from Afghanistan?).

But, man.  These guys have to come up with an innovative business model.  And quick!  And I have yet to hear any viable proposals from anyone.

It doesn’t make much sense, IMHO, for the Times to adopt WSJ’s online paying model.  With all due respect to Rupert Murdoch (not much), the WSJ has a completely different audience. And it’s required reading for business types, who all probably write off the paper as a business expense.  Or have their firms buy it for then.  Who is going to pay for The New York Times?  Sure.  Some people will. But not an entire generation that’s used to getting its news for free.

I don’t know about you, but when The Times has tried this in the past and I came across a “you can’t see this article unless you pay for it, buddy” screen, I went to find the story somewhere else.  And in most cases, a similar story had been posted — via AP or wire services — circulated, and reblogged to the extent that it was pretty ubiquitous.

I certainly applaud NYT’s drastic measures to try to stay afloat.  And I certainly don’t have any answers for them as to how to keep their newspaper in business — there are no easy answers.

Is it time for more drastic measures? Cut paper circulation entirely? Charge a lot more for the actual paper — turning it into a luxury item? Cut entire department/ sections? (Opinions — which are a dime a dozen these days, Times Magazine, Classifieds… all of which are limited in reach and/or covered better by the internet).  Probably.

Either way, someone needs to come in and drastically rethink the entire business model.  Looking at it in a positive way, this whole crisis is a great opportunity for The Times.  They are an industry leader.  They have been for years.  Who better to teach the rest of the industry how to do investigative journalism in the 21st Centuary?

Like I said, I don’t have a good answer on this one.  But I certainly hope someone does.  The Times (and other papers like it) is a really important news source.  I’d hate to see it disappear.