I'm a little confused, in the new order of the Global Edition of the NYT, who exactly works for who, and who gets to be called what. In particular I am talking about journalists.
New York Times journalists and IHT journalists are no longer distinguised within the paper. Yet online, articles by NYT journalists are clearly described as such, ditto articles by IHT journalists being described as being by IHT journalists.
Now we come to an Opinion piece run under the heading 'The Fulbright Seven'.
To quote it:
After reporting in The International Herald Tribune by Ethan Bronner drew high-level American attention, top State Department officials intervened to restore the students' Fulbright fellowships that lower-level functionaries had notified them would be withdrawn.
Now, Ethan Bronner works for the NYT, not the IHT, so techincally, that would be 'after reporting in the NYT by Ethan Bronner'......
And if the IHT is the global edition of the NYT, why the misleading suggestion from the above piece that it was reporting in the IHT, as opposed to say the NYT, that resulted in the intervention of State.
Clearly, what we have here are some inconsistencies that need ironing out, but perhaps most baffling is why http://www.iht.com/ continues (to my mind usefully) to differentiate between NYT and IHT journalists, and the print edition doesn't.
And the ironing out is coming.
I was reflecting on a recent posting I made about how the BBC online news service offered two editions - a domestic one or an international one - , something of course that CNN does too, and I pondered why the NYT and IHT do not do the same. And if they did, would the international, or rather global edition of the NYT, take you to the IHT web site.
Well, I've been ruminating on this, and that just seems plain inconsistent, and in an age of remorseless cost cutting, what possible sense does it make for the same newspaper (the NYT) to run, maintain and develop two web sits - http://www.nytimes/ and http://www.iht.com/
Clearly it doesn't.
I'd say the smart money would be on the demise of http://www.iht.com/ in the coming 6-18 months.
So if you like http://www.iht.com/ (and I do, a lot) and you find the design of http://www.nytimes.com/ to be ugly, crowded and dated, then enjoy http://www.iht.com/ while you can.
The problem with Manhattan/American design sensibilities is that they just aren't very global. The graphics, typeface etc of http://www.iht.com/ is much more cosmopolitan, than the metropolitan, parochial, grey of http://www.nytimes.com/ But try telling that to a designer at http://www.nytimes.com/
Now, if http://www.iht.com/ were to be rolled into http://www.nytimes.com/ (and that's just purely a guess, based on logical thinking and an atmosphere of cost cutting - and http://www.iht.com/ is an easy hit), where do they go then with the IHT brand if it doesn't have an online presence?
I think they're going to ditch it. I think they believe if the IHT brand had value, it would have made money for them by now, so what's the benefit of keeping the legacy, and they're probably also considering the PR benefit of killing the IHT. (That's to say: lots of coverage.)
Sadly, that won't solve their problems.
I'm pragmatic. I don't care if the dingbat goes, I don't really care if the IHT brand goes, although I think they would run a real risk of losing a lot of their luxury and fashion advertising.
As a reader, what I want is a truly global newspaper, with no national bias or narrow editorial perspective. Being called the International NYT doesn't, per se, preclude that. But if they don't set that as their mission, as distinct to how they write for and edit for a U.S. audience, they can call it whatever they like, it won't fly globally.
From a business perspective however, I still think there is brand value in the IHT which the NYT haven't yet understood how they could leverage it. And it's all pretty obvious stuff.