Sunday, 8 June 2008

Dingbat gone; Rolf very upset about The Global Edition thing,

This is how Businessweek ran the story:

New logo from
The International Herald Tribune is dropping its ornate, 142-year-old logo for a more modern, simpler look. The detail-rich logo is being replaced by a phrase, "The Global Edition of the New York Times," highlighting that the paper is fully part of the New York Times Co. after a 2002 deal.
The "dingbat" first appeared in 1866 on the New York Tribune that later merged into the International Herald Tribune, wrote Richard Kluger in "The Paper: The Life and Death of the Herald Tribune." The logo has been altered over the years. The logo's panorama of symbolic images features pyramids and camels, an ox pulling a plow, a bridge, an hourglass, a soaring airplane and a bald eagle atop a clock showing the time of 6:12 -- for unknown reasons, Kluger wrote.

If you can't remember what it looked like you can remind yourself, if you are truly pining, at

Rolf wrote to me and said that he was a "tad surprised" about my lack of concern about the "subname, "The Global Edition of the International Herald Tribune." Non-American readers don't care about the NYTimes -- it's the International Herald Tribune, NOT the New York Times."

Rolf, I'm afraid those days are over.

It is owned by the NYT, and a global edition of the NYT does not have to mean that the IHT can't continue to have its own name and editorial identity distinct from the NYT. The dingbat is neither here nor there. What matters is how the paper is edited and the perspective of its staff.

What has been dropped is 'The World's Daily Newspaper' strapline.

Now, that was a great line, devised by an agency called Ambler Rodford (or something like) under the supervision of the IHT's current MD for Asia, Randy Weddle and then me when I became worldwide marketing director. I fired Ambler Rodford but kept the strapline.

It was the ex-FT man Richard McClean as publisher who iniated the Ambler Rodford brand campaign, the strapline being about the best part of it.

Sadly, it was an aspiration for, rather than a reflection of, the content of the newspaper at that time, and since. And all good advertising must fall out of a fundamental truth, as one Piers Warburton once remarked. (Actually remarked to me wisely so many times, I have never forgotten it.)

It never could truly be the World's Daily Newspaper for as long as it continued to prefer the information needs of Americans overseas as opposed to any other readership group. Conquering that Manhattan reflex from the NYT is an uphill battle, because when the new staff arrive off the boat in Paris, they are themselves exactly that, Americans overseas who want an American perspective.

Certainly called the paper the Global Edition of the NYT doesn't preclude the ambition of still becoming the World's Daily Newspaper, but I agree with Rolf, the signal is a little opaque at best, alarming at worst.

Perhaps it's a statement of intent that the NYT would like to be the world's daily newspaper. If it wants to do that, it needs to decide which brand name to go forward with, and furthermore, invest a very large amount of money before someone else does.

Like Mr. Murdoch who is now printing the U.S edition of the WSJ in London. For example.

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