Friday, 19 September 2008

New York Times shares jump on August report (MarketWatch)

New York Times shares jump on August report
David B. Wilkerson, MarketWatch
Last update: 5:37 p.m. EDT Sept. 18, 2008
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) - New York Times Co. shares rose 12% Thursday after the company reported August revenue results at its newspapers that reflected an improvement in online ad growth after a particularly tepid July, along with better results at the long-beleaguered Boston Globe.
NYT rose $1.63 to close at $15.25.
The media company said online ad revenue rose 7.9% in August, mostly due to growth in display advertising. Online help-wanted ad sales, a sore spot in July, remained a problem, especially in the later part of August. In July, online ad revenue rose just 0.9%, far worse than analysts had been expecting.
The digital growth still lags New York Times' typical performance. In June, the newspapers saw online revenue rise 21.5% over June 2007. Online ad revenue grew 14.2% in May, 25.6% in April, and 14.8% in March.
Total digital revenue rose 6%, with online ad revenue increasing 10.9%. Both figures are sharply up from July, when digital revenue rose 2.6%, with online-ad revenue up 5.5%.
Digital businesses accounted for 12.7% of total revenues in August, compared with 11% in August 2007.
There were also some signs of improvement at the company's New England Media Group, which includes the Boston Globe, and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Ad revenue fell 16.4% after dropping 24.5% in July.
There have been persistent calls from Wall Street observers for a sale of the Globe, but New York Times has maintained that the newspaper remains an important outlet for New England advertisers.
Overall, weakness in print advertising continued unabated in August, leading ad revenue to plunge 15.9%.
Newspapers have been in dire straits over the last three years as a shift to online consumption of news and information has left publishers scrambling to deal with rapidly declining ad sales at their print editions.
The weakened U.S. economy, stifled by the subprime mortgage crisis, has dealt a punishing blow to classified revenues, particularly in the areas of real estate, help-wanted and automotive. Classified revenue has historically been the main source of income for newspapers.
At the New York Times Media Group, including the flagship newspaper, ad revenue fell 15.1%, hampered by weakness in the studio entertainment, transportation, hotel and national automotive categories.
The regional media group, including papers in midsize markets such as Wilmington, N.C., and Santa Rosa, Calif., saw ad revenue decline 17.5%.
At the group that includes, the company's online-information portal, revenue climbed 16.1 % on increased cost-per-click and display advertising.
Other newspaper companies advanced Thursday. David B. Wilkerson is a reporter for MarketWatch in Chicago.

Happily I did not spot this in the International Herald Tribune

This from Mediabistro, ever vigilant for a chance to knock MSM (from which they make their living and derive most of their content). But I have to agree with them on this one....

New York Times Trend Piece Tackles the Vital Role of Wristbands in the NFL

Scout's honor, we're trying to believe in newspapers. But wow, sometimes they make it hard. Case in point, today's The New York Times in-depth trend piece about how players in the National Football League are wearing wristbands... on their forearms.

Some football players, like Jets defensive end
David Bowens, pull fat 2-inch wristbands up into the crook of the elbows. Some, like Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson, use scissors to cut a skinny edge from the elastic band for a thin strand. Some even use sliced old socks, swatches of stretchy material or athletic tape to create the wrap-around look.
Some wear the bands at the elbow. Some wear them across the middle of the biceps. Some, like Jets cornerback
Dwight Lowery, wear them over the top of a long-sleeved shirt.

They paid someone to write this? Did NYT forget to tell us it was combining the Sports and Styles section?
But don't worry, there's more. 895 words more, to be exact.

Wristbands, like their stretchy ringed cousin, the headband, have long performed dual (if not dueling) roles of form and function for athletes. Depending on the sport, the era and the hipness of the wearer, they have not always been worn to good reviews.

This article performs the dual role of being vapid and sucking.

[Giants tight end
Kevin Boss] looked over at tight end Michael Matthews, who was wearing wristbands, too.
"I always make fun of Mike for wearing them on his wrist," Boss said. "That's old school."

Just like newspapers.


International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Bug at leading to factual errors

If you have read any of the posts in the last 24 hours, largely prompted by the Gawker story, and people's reactions to it in my email in-box, you should re-read them.

I have a bug with this blog, and I may soon be moving to another platform because for some reason drafts that I am editing are going live before I have finished them, and many editing changes on matters of fact that I made yesterday were not saved by and I didn't spot that what I thought were corrected drafts were in fact going up without the corrections in the post. Thus leading to some inaccuracies, for which I am sorry.

So, please re-read the posts which I hope are now correct and accurate as they can be, and my apologies to the many people who took the time to write to me with their thoughts, insights and factual corrections of what had been posted before.

If there is
one posting that anyone truly interested in the future and well-being of the IHT should read, that I posted yesterday, it is this one about an IHT reader and why he subscribes to the IHT.

Once again, I am sorry for any mistakes that were published.

If anyone sees any mistakes, and can show they are right, or are people who regularly write to me, mostly anonymously, but whom I then cross reference with people at the IHT I know and trust, then please write to me and I will correct any mistakes.

BTW: I hate blogging. You try to be light-hearted, not spend too much time on it, follow something as a hobby that interests you (in my case the future of newspapers and the IHT in particular, as it is my ESSENTIAL daily read) and it becomes confused, rushed and full of mistakes.

I think I am going to give it up soon, or just make the blog a private one for myself, using it as place to post and label clippings, and perhaps available to anyone who takes the time to write to me and let me know what is going on with the IHT, or is one of the many IHT readers who write to me with articles they have seen about the IHT,the future of newspapers or just their views on the IHT. i.e a community blog for those who participate, rather than a public blog.

It would be great if the IHT would recognise I am a fan of the paper, and wish it well, and actually publicise the fact this blog exists.

That would provide something of real value to the IHT - a community space for its readers to discuss the IHT, not their opinions on news stories for which already caters to, but what they like and don't like about the IHT.

It would also serve as a sort of unofficial Ombudsman - which the IHT does not have and needs.

Naturally I'm not holding my breath on that one, but I hope plans for the IHT's involvement in might offer that, with an independent Ombudsman to moderate the discussions.

I check in from time to time on ex-IHT editor Mike Getler's column at PBS where he is the Ombudsman (a role he previously had at the WP), and it is fascinating to see the sense of community, committment and care, let alone honesty, about their offering. It must also be good for PBS employees who don't have to handle lots of personal communications, and see that complaints against them get fairly addressed and explained. Equally PBS viewers, without whom PBS would not exist, get a chance to have a feeling of belonging to a brand they care for and could not imagine living without.

International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

William E. Schmidt and Re-design process


For those of you who love the news (which I posted today of its demise/change/fold-in/whatever, planned for March 2009), probably wasn't crash hot.

For those of you who love the current design of the IHT (I'm not one of them) then you probably won't want to hear this: The IHT is going through (A.N.Other) redesign process, and meetings took place at the beginning of this week about this.

I heard about this earlier in the week, but I don't post until I get at least 3 independent sources telling me the same thing, and in the interests of the IHT, not until it is more or less common knowledge in Paris HQ (which means the wider global media community sooner or later, if not already), if not in the many IHT regional offices (who I know read this blog). It seems the world and his wife attended these re-design meetings (with the exception, naturally of the people whose services are no longer required), so it will be common knowledge, internally and externally very soon, if not already.

William E. Schmidt, who was announced as Editor Global editions back in July (I had forgotten that) has also been spotted at the IHT in Paris from the end of last week. (He was also over in August.)

Whether he is in Paris for the re-design meets or whether he is already taking up his post in Paris as Editor, Global Editions post-/Gottlieb-Oreskers, is not clear.

(Note plural of Editions:how many global editions does the NYT have? I suppose they include the Asian edition of the IHT; no, sorry, the Asian edition of the global edition of the NYT - it's late, I'm confused, I had even forgotten the announcement about Schmidt made in July

International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

Just a word or two about that IHT Gawker story

Who knows if what Gawker had to say about Serge being pushed out is true or not, and who cares?

a) seems strange that Keller would have it in for the godfather of his son
b) there was no make or break meeting in November for Serge to be seen at after with Golden; a meeting about the IHT, yes, with Serge and Keller present, amongst others, yes, but it was no make or break meeting.
c) The curious thing about this is that there is no mention of the "wikipedia incident". Schmemann was VERY upset that someone had changed his entry to say that he had been fired etc. so, naturally, he went to Golden with it. A big drama newsroom meeting was set up with Schmemann present, and Golden presiding to officially condemn the wiki incident and presumably to try and shame the perpetrator (who remains unknown and was hardly likely to own up, even if they were there - there is nothing to suggest to anyone it was a newsroom staffer who spent his or her downtime fiddling with Wiki). It could have been someone outside the IHT as far as I can see. Golden however threatened to bring in the police which seems a bit OTT. Many doubted he would or did and it struck many as being an over the top reaction to a practical joke. However reliable sources tell me Schmemann was convinced Brian Manning was behind it and told the authorities so. Most people doubt it because it doesn't sound like Manning, who, although he does have a sense of humour, is not exactly known for his technological skills and someone scoffed at the idea he would even know how to edit a wiki entry. So...
d) One has to wonder if the someone who edited the wiki entry is in fact Gawker's email tipster with some sort of grudge against Schmemann.
e) This wiki thing is pretty old news, so why is this person with a grudge against Schmemann suddenly contacting me and perhaps the self same person, Gawker?

What's more puzzling - and more illustrative of just how wrong sites like Gawker and indeed my own 'from the mountains' outsiders blog can be - is this line from Gawker, under the title of Bill Keller purging the IHT:

"Given the extent to which the Times appears to be gutting the IHT, one wonders why the company bothers to keep it as a separate brand rather than simply identifying it as the European edition of the Times."
We know (if Gawker and their tipster don't) why they keep it a seperate brand.
Research has shown that the IHT brand flies better outside the U.S.A. than the NYT, within their target demographic.
(But don't rule out the NYT not going the INYT route; I'd say it's still a possibility.)
And the NYT don't identify it as the European edition of the Times (btw - the IHT has an Asian edition too), nor have they kept it a seperate brand. Rather they have clearly called it the global edition of the NYT.
(The paper does, even if NYT Corporate don't.)
By 'gutting' I suppose Gawker means being folded into in March 09 and their unsubstantiated rumour that Op-Ed is going the same way (I've addressed that seperately.)

But as to personnel, yes, there is the matter of some producers being fired (to take affect by March 09 - sorry, just can't bring myself to use the term 'let go'; some have already found jobs elsewhere, let's hope they all do) but at a senior level Oreskes was hardly an IHT fixture to be gutted - he was put in there by the NYT after their takeover, and he came from the NYT.

Equally, Golden was appointed publisher. He was hardly an IHT fixture either. He left but he's hardly been let go. Thanks to some rather nifty family relations (and his own skills set) he is, after all, still on the board and Vice Chairman of the actual NYT Company. If that's gutting, have my innards any time you like.

Even if Schmemann is on the way out (and I really don't know that he is, beyond one IHT tipster to Gawker and this blog) he too was hardly an IHT fixture to be gutted. He too came in from the NYT after the NYT took over.

In fact, if we look at the masthead we have the publisher (SDJ) plus Allen, Berlin, Berry, Knorr and Shannon still happily there and they were IHT, non-NYT appointed people, all in place BEFORE the NYT took 100% control of the paper.

One would have to conclude that the NYT is satisfied with their performance.

(Stout, it is true, def. was shown the door, but 30 years or so is a long, long time on the same paper.)

Not only were these IHT fixtures there before the NYT took over, but many of them didn't even come from the NYT in the first place.

SDJ for example came from the FT, Shannon from the WP; Allen, Knorr, Berry and Berlin have been there since the beginning of time.

(Kath, m'old luv, you still won't review my book - I don't hold it against you. Did you see the JIrons thing - well, he's a big IHT fan and he loved the book so it should be right up the IHT readers' alley, non?!)

And, for good measure, we have Weddle still as MD Asia, and a more IHT fixture you couldn't get, bar Big John V.

As for journalists Menkes and Melikien - still there.

Roger Collis - regretably, still there.

John Vinocur - the uber IHT fixture - still there.

So all this talk of the NYT gutting the IHT is rot.

Are any of them obstacles to the NYT's plans for the IHT?

Well, no doubt William S. will form his own views when he formally takes up his new position as Editor, Global Edition(S), but the people I've worked with personally like Berlin, Shannon, SDJ and Weddle have hardly got a reputation for being obstacles to progress, indeed the inverse.

And the IHT is throwing a lavish party for Menkes Saturday week; Souren remains the world art market journalist of reference and he still works for the IHT.

Furthermore, the NYT have in fact added journalists, also not necessarily from the NYT. Kanter is a good example (ex-Dow Jones).

The IHT has never had more staff writers than I can remember.

In fact if any gutting needs to be done, here are two ideas:

a) replace NYT art editor with Souren (he wouldn't want the job, but it would be nice gesture to offer it);

b) ditto their fashion editor with Suzy. (idem)

That would do the NYT a world of good.

There is a core of copy editors and hanger-ons at the IHT who are rabidly anti-NYT/change who do need 'gutting' (to use that lovely corporate language about people's lives and careers and family incomes) but that's basically because they have been asked to work harder, and not treat the IHT as an endless free-holiday in Paris. (It's true, there have been about a dozen losses in the newsroom but at least two were retirements. These buy-outs began in 07 and are only taking place this year.)

If you work at the IHT and can't get your head around the advantages of being part of the NYTMG and go with it, you're working for the wrong newspaper and instead of criticising from within you should put your money where your mouth is and resign. The blogosphere awaits you.

Ironically, part (and if I am honest a small part) of why I resigned from the IHT was because it WASN'T wholly owned by either one of its then two owners and it clearly wasn't going to go anywhere until it was. And anyone with a brain at the IHT knew that.

The fact that the painful, time wasting, energy sapping two years for IHT execs and editors educating the NYT about what they owned could have been all avoided if Mr. Sulzberger had rung me up to fix a meet over a half-hour coffee is another matter.

(Very occassionally, I still have Excel nightmares, but luckily I got out in time.)

International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

The (non) future of IHT web producers in Paris (Version 2.0)

If you like then you're not going to like this.

It has been common knowledge at the IHT for sometime that a stand alone was going to go, and be folded, somehow, into the

Most (if not all, I don't know exact number) web producers posts in Paris are disappearing over the coming months.

I've sat on this story for a long-time out of respect for the people who told me about it - people losing their jobs, but it seems it's common knowledge now.

The worst thing about the whole event at the IHT, internally, is that any departmental closure leads to absolutely terrible morale. This isn't so much a fault of the IHT but the IHT, being a French registered company over a certain size, having to deal with French labour laws. These labour laws demand management inform the worker's committee of any planned lay-offs or important changes, and provide them a prescribed amount of time during which to come back with an official response.

Management is normally happy to keep their lips zipped during this phase, but members of the committee have historically proven themselves incapable of keeping these discussions secret - as they should - before their official response to management. So word leaks out to the people affected; management is obliged by law to neither confirm or deny or make any official comment on any such plans as being official (until the committee who has leaked the plans come back with their response - if management does say something, they are then in violation of French labour law which has considerable knock on consequences for how any settlement agreements are arranged).

Oh, what a wicked web we weave when we practise to deceive.

The deception is one imposed by French law, not by intent and it's very difficult for management to deal with when the workers committee can't keep their traps shut. Rumours spread like wild fire, people are obliged to lie to people they know well, even are friends with; it all makes for a very nasty atmosphere indeed. Especially at a newspaper with a building of professional cynics hardly conducive to a happy clappy atmosphere.

The atmosphere, relating to all these changes, and even a rumoured move of Op-Ed to NY (vigorously denied by senior sources; a counter story is that Roger Cohen is going to get Serge S.'s job) has been described by one as 'vile', 'vindictive' and 'worse than at Lehman Brothers'. Other sources describe that description as complete rubbish, and that leads me to think my 'vile' source doth protest too much.

All rather distracting and judging by the number of stories being repeated on on the same day under different headlines, sports stories showing up in the business section, and vice versa, etc., etc., one could say it is having a negative impact on the paper's web site. So then, what about

Good question. Where it ends up remains to be seen but the facts are that the IHT is the global edition of the NYT, whether the people at the IHT or its readers like that idea or not. The transfer of decision making power (editorially and business) to NY has been going on for years now, and had it not been for the market research which showed the brand value of the NYT internationally was so damn low, the paper would long ago have been called the INYT.

Even before Oreskes left (pushed/whatever/who cares) they dropped the IHT byline and no-one seemed to care; I certainly didn't.

Here's the Oreskes and Keller memo of that time (2006):

Friends, Close readers of the NYT noticed something missing from Dan Bilefsky's story this morning on fears of a new Russian "occupation" in Latvia. No, nothing wrong with the story, which was fascinating. Missing was the agate identifier under his byline saying "International Herald Tribune." It's gone for good. As best we can recall, the agate line originated as a way of promoting the close partnership of NYT and IHT. It proclaimed to Times readers: All the great journalists of the NYT, PLUS all the great journalists of the IHT! But our impression is that readers, if they noticed at all, reacted with a "huh?" And some at the IHT took it as a signal that the Trib pieces were somehow regarded as second-class bylines. So, no more. The NYT and the IHT will henceforth fly the same flag (which, agate-wise, is no flag.) At the same time, and for the same reason (to show we are all one news organization), the IHT is dropping its agate lines that up to now have labeled stories as New York Times or International Herald Tribune. Since the top of the front page of the IHT proudly proclaims that it is Published by The New York Times, there seems no need to hammer the point that it is all New York Times journalism striving for the same high quality. Bill Keller & Mike Oreskes

Will IHT readers go 'huh?' when goes away? Good question. It all depends on what comes in its place, and secondly, if the NYT editors in NY are smart enough to realise that readers of the IHT don't want an international version of the NYT - they want a global newspaper/site that caters to their needs which are not the same as Americans abroad or Americans interested in international affairs from an American perspective.

Equally, to many much more graphic-design aware/sophisticated European readers, looks like a bottle of spilt ink (leaving aside any question of how content for IHT readers is flagged and catered for).

But irrespective of what comes in terms of design and content changes at as a result of closing a few things ought to be crystal clear to anyone who follows the IHT, the NYT or newspapers in general.

The fortunes and future of the IHT are reliant on the good graces of its owner the NYT, and anyone who thinks otherwise, or is fighting that thought, is a dinosaur.

The web merger is a good thing for the IHT and the New York Times Media Group - if well-handled, as discussed above. It will give the IHT a much larger digital foot print.

It simply doesn't make any type of editorial or commercial sense to run two web operations in two cities on opposite sides of the pond, when we are talking about one newspaper (with a global edition).

No doubt the way the whole thing has been handled - secretive, keeping staff in the dark, etc etc - has been upsetting for morale and individuals naturally very concerned about their futures, but the fault for that lies as much with the workers' committee and the demands of French law as it does with IHT management.

Now let's hold our breath and see where we end up without in March 2009.

Somewhere better hopefully, but my thoughts and best wishes for all those people who have put so much work into and made it such a terrific site. I feel for them and wish them the very best.

It would be a shame if failed to bring in some of their European/international experience into their operation in NY, but I fear not.

International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

All this talk of global editions isn't being reflected at a NYT/IHT corporate comms level.

If the IHT is indeed the global edition of the NYT, might one expect to see some reference to this in the IHT's mission statement?

Apparently not.

A key word search on NYT Company site press releases section for "International Herald Tribune" took so long to load I gave up waiting.

Equally, the only IHT editor mentioned as an executive of the NYT Media Group is editorial page Serge Schmemann Editor, Editorial Page.

(BTW: Interesting anecdote about Serge: his daughter worked for Hilary Clinton's campaign and there was some discussion as to whether, as Editorial page editor, this posed a conflict of interest. Apparently the answer to this in NYT-land is 'yes', if his daughter was his 'wife' but as his daughter is his daughter, then the answer was 'no'.)

Indeed at there is no mention of the IHT being the global edition of the NYT.

Nor, under Business units, is there any mention of the IHT being the global edition of the NYT. It's simply listed as a member of the NYTMG, as a stand alone property, just like The New York Times,, Baseline StudioSystems (?) and WQXR-FM.

Do the corporate comms. people in Manhattan actually know that the IHT is the global edition of the NYT or is this just something that has been stamped on the IHT masthead for fun?


International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

It's (still) a family affair at the IHT

Did you know there is a copy editor at the IHT called Brian Manning, who is married to someone called Patricia Ochs who also works at the IHT in Paris?

And yes, I am talking about that Ochs family.

Nepotism in media is MYTH DAMN IT!


International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

NY Times picks up Breakingviews

NB. I've seen internal Keller memos that refer to the International Herald Tribune as the Trib. Here we have someone at Breaking News (if the Reuters journalist has referenced him properly) calling it the Herald Tribune.

Now that is going, to be rolled into the (more on that in a minute) the IHT useage is less important.

But for now, could the NYT get everyone on the same page about how to refer to their international edition of the NYT (which it is) and call it either the IHT or the International Herald Tribune?

As for the NYT and the IHT sharing one of Rupert's cast-offs with a competing general interest English language newspaper in a key European market, one has to wonder why the NYT would accept that, and why it wouldn't do what Rupert is doing? Exclusivity of content, putting the new into newspaper, has to be a central tactic to a broader survival strategy.

Here's the NYT release, and below, Reuters take on it.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times Co's flagship newspaper plans to start running a daily business opinion column provided by, a week after The Wall Street Journal dropped it to concentrate on its own Heard on the Street column.
The column will run daily in the Times as well as the International Herald Tribune, which New York Times Co owns and calls its global edition, Breakingviews founder Hugo Dixon told Reuters in an interview.
The column will begin running in the Times and Herald Tribune next week, Dixon said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Dixon said that The Telegraph Media Group will publish Breakingviews commentary in the Daily Telegraph newspaper in Britain as well as on the paper's website.
News Corp's Wall Street Journal had a contract to run Breakingviews until 2009, but wanted to get out of the contract early and focus on its own business column, Dixon said in June. It stopped running Breakingviews last week.
The Journal retains a 6 percent stake in Breakingviews, Dixon said. A Journal spokesman had no immediate comment.
Breakingviews is one of several business opinion columns that is vying to provide readers with concise analysis on complex financial developments.
The Journal relaunched last week with a new team of Journal and Dow Jones writers, while its chief rival -- Pearson Plc's Financial Times -- has been building up the team for its Lex business opinion column.

"When the news you need is not always the news you want." (An IHT Reader)

I often blog about the International Herald Tribune without putting much of a face to IHT readers, because I feel I know them so well myself. Evidently we're all ahead of the curve, smart, engaged, charming, good looking, well-travelled cosmopolitan people (WHO LOVE FASHION AND LUXURY GOODS)!

However, I'd like to pick out one IHT reader who I think is representative of a large number of readers, but who, unfortunately for the IHT advertising department (except those selling the value of IHT readers as opinion formers) isn't worth much to them (because he isn't a senior exec. in a large European or Asian business, with corporate purchasing decision making power).

(How the IHT needs to get out of that trap laid so well by the FT and also used by the WSJ, is a discussion for another day.)

So let's meet our reader, and find out why he reads the IHT.

His views are especially interesting because he works on the Internet edge of media, and is extremely wired in the supposedly post-print age.

Graham Holliday works for in London.

Graham lived abroad for almost 15 years. He used to subscribe to the Guardian Weekly when he lived in Korea and later in Vietnam. Then Vietnam got the Internet and he didn't seem to need the paper.

However, to quote him, "I've been working heavily in journalism/blogs/social media for 7 years or more now and I realised the Internet was making me stupid as the way I use it to find out information is very niche. I miss too much. So, I decided to re-subscribe to a daily paper [the IHT]. First time I've had a daily since 1987 and it's great."

Graham outlined his reasons at his site Noodlepie, which I'm going to quote from (NB date - June 2008!)

Yes, I know I'm going against at least 250 grains, the general drift and the zeitgeist, but I've gone back to the future. For the first time in my life since 1987 I have subscribed to the print edition of a daily newspaper. The International Herald Tribune to be precise. Over the last five years I have increasingly hit my very tight, very niche RSS feeds for news before I ever glance at the BBC, NYTimes or Guardian front pages. As a result, I'm less informed. The Twitter feeds from NYTimes World and IHT are very useful - they don't overwhelm like some other newspapers - and I regularly click through to read more on a story I first see there, but... over time I have come to realise the way I have configured the internet to deliver me my news has made me an expert in some areas, but ignorant in far too many more.
I got into the habit of picking up the IHT whenever I passed the local newsagent. A newspaper the size of the IHT is manageable, it's readable, doesn't break the delivery boy's back, doesn't beg you to bin sections, advertising supplements and the countless other bits of throwaway claptrap that stuff newspapers with non-news stuff. The IHT is news on paper. There's a beginning, a middle and an end. When I go to a newspaper website there are umpteen beginnings, a gazzillion middles, shedloads of ends and more than a few deadends. I don't read the news online, I reject what I don't want to read and read what I think I want/need to read. I simply miss too much, too often and don't get enough depth in a logical manner from the internet. RSS feeds are invaluable for my work and interests, podcasts are great for niche news interests, I don't really watch TV and so, I've come to the conclusion that until news on the internet is as readable/logical/intuitive as the print item I'll stick with the deadwood edition while it's still around.
Two months later, Graham made another comment on Noodlepie, his 10 reasons for subscribing to a good print newspaper.
I'll just quote his summary:
"The crux of it is; print can steer you towards stuff you wouldn't otherwise encounter, whereas the online experience is designed to help you avoid stuff. This has only gotten worse in recent times with every other online newspaper giving you the opportunity to make your very own "My News page". Yes, yes, I know, you get to the news you want quicker, but I can't help thinking this drive towards speed, efficiency and personalisation is sometimes over emphasized especially when the news you need is not always the news you want."
Two things stand out for me, and it goes back to an earlier post I made today about Bob G. Jr and content for regularly, engaged people, who advertisers KNOW will be there.

The Internet was making Graham an expert in some areas and IGNORANT (my emphasis) in others.

The other (and IHT reader surveys show this), is that we watch very little TV.

What good print does, as you scan the page or turn the page to go to the areas you want to be an expert in or are interested in, is draw your eye to things you're not an expert in or did not know about but do not want to be ignorant of: something I once coined as the Broader Business Perspective, but lets just call it for now, the big picture.

The Internet has not yet found a way to deliver that.

So that's the good news for print, from where Graham is standing as an Internet media expert.

The bad news is that he's not so sure newspapers will be around for much more than a decade, not because of its inherent faults, but because, and I quote him: "There's no money in news."

However he adds one VERY important caveat to that: "Not the way things are currently modelled anyhow."

When we hear talk of dinosaurs and me banging on about Newspaper 2.0, it is exactly this that I am talking about.

Newspapers are stuck at Newspaper 1.0, with onerous legacy costs of failed imagination when it comes to what type of content they offer, how and when.

Newspaper 2.0 can overcome that.

I hope it's going to be the NYT/IHT who gets it first.

If not, and they hang on to Newspaper 1.0 because it still brings in juicy revenues and they haven't ever done anything different, they will go under, sooner or later. Just like Lehman Brothers, Merrill and all the rest who didn't realise the game had changed.

And someone else will develop Newspaper 2.0 and it's going to be very much a question of (committed and aggressive) first-mover advantage.

P.S Thanks to Graham for his fond IHT Flickr group and for taking the time to write to me.


International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

I couldn't have said it better myself: The Future of Media

I'll put in bold what I particularly agree with here, because it is a call to arms for Newspaper 2.0.

The Future of Media: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying That the Internet Will Consume Print
Bob Guccione, Jr.
Posted September 17, 2008 02:25 PM (EST
Having spent the past three months focusing on the future of media -- as guest editor of a special double issue of Media magazine -- I'm ready to make some predictions. I'm ready, despite knowing, after decades in the media business, how difficult it is to predict accurately the future of anything as mercurial as the media -- tossed, as it is, on the illogical seas of pop culture and pulled by the currents of technology. So here they are:
1) Within two years, a major city daily will transform itself into a free paper. Home delivery will still require a paid subscription. The Sunday paper will continue to be sold and will morph into a hybrid of the best of a pleasurable Sunday-paper reading experience and a week-long events resource.
2) A cable channel will pass one or more of the Big Four broadcast networks in total viewership, chiefly because it makes better programs.
3) Google will lose significant market share, because viable competitors will create as good or better search engines and incentivize people to use them.
4) The Internet will not consume print, because it's not strong enough, it's not better, and it's too busy consuming itself.
The future of media will boil down to, and pivot on the axis of, one thing: imagination -- how creative we are in exploiting technology and, equally important, with content. The future will not be a war between new media and traditional media, but between obsolescence and vision. In that sense, it will be far more apocalyptic and transformative than just a bunch of old-line companies going away.
That does not mean that print has nothing to worry about. It has, quite literally, everything to worry about: from the expense of its materials, workforce and delivery, to loss of revenues and the erosion of its dominance as a source of information. But the print medium can fix that set of problems. "Can" is the operative word.
Too often publishing executives complain about their ill fortunes rather then set about the necessary reconstruction, like depressed home owners shocked to discover their homes are not impervious to nature and weather. Newspapers have to change, because they've become anachronistic. Magazines are going through a natural (and I personally think very useful, if we're smart enough to learn from this) market correction, as Wall Street likes to call the periods when the floor gives out from under them.
I know the conventional wisdom: that readership is being lost to the speed and efficiency of the Web. But I think the decline of traditional publishing, especially magazines, is more deeply rooted in an arrogance and laziness that goes back 30-plus years. It was once so easy to make money from publishing -- paper, printing and distribution were so cheap and newsstand sales and subscriptions so profitable that advertising revenue was gravy. Then it got more difficult, imperceptibly at first, and gradually more complicated. But, for some reason, whatever other market realities they acknowledged, publishers refused to accept that the perfect magic formula had spoiled.
The Internet hit traditional publishing like the asteroid that struck the earth and killed the dinosaurs. But in the wake of that cataclysmic shock, we forget that the Internet is not a thoughtful entity. It's a fertile ecosystem spawning a dazzling array of exotic flora, with the potential to improve mankind exponentially. It's an infinite network of railway tracks, along which travel an unfathomable number of rail cars loaded with thoughts and information, some of the cargo precious, some worthless. But the Internet didn't create any of it. It only delivers it.
So those in publishing should pick their collective chins up off the floor and realize that the future couldn't be brighter, as soon as we recognize that digital technology is the modern-day equivalent of color printing and faster presses, and that the thing that feeds the new machine is the same thing that fed the old one: imagination.
Offline media companies should use the Web to do a better job of competing with one another and worry less about competing with Internet-natural companies, who have their hands full with each other anyway.
I think the Internet has a looming financial crisis which, when it explodes, will birth a new and invigorating way that media is created and distributed. Funding came too easy to too many digital businesses, and that always leads to an investor panic when one of the giddiest investments goes bad, as invariably happens. The valuations are once again seriously out of whack with earnings, and business models presume too clear a road ahead of them.
A guaranteed audience is presumed, no matter how many times the cell of an idea divides into multiple copies. But people are not chickens, at which you can throw a handful of grain and then watch as they scurry around pecking at the dirt to find it all. People will choose what they want and won't turn up in as many actual places as they do on business plans.
The amount of choice will greatly raise the bar of quality and performance for competing media. At that point, I think the advertising model will shift -- as unlikely as that seems now -- from the unrealistic promise of infinite audiences to smaller aggregations of people really engaged, really interested, and predictably present. Along the way, several smart and unique business practices will evolve: some obvious, most inconceivable to us today.


International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Nasty rumours flying around about the IHT

A lot of emails have been flying around this week, most of them landing in my inbox here at Think!

I haven't run with any of it, because the picture is messy and confused, but my guess is that whoever the email tipster to Gawker is has been busy this week. Why this week? I don't know.

My sources are telling me that most of what follows below from Gawker, is, and I quote, "a pile of crap" and that the rumour that by year's end, op-ed will be folded into NY (under the new jargon) is "simply not true".

What is being said, therefore, that by years end op-ed will be New York generated is being denied at a senior level.

As to the fate of Op-ed editor Serge Schmemann, the rumour (emphasis on rumour) is that he has fallen to the same fate as Michael Oreskes - he has been given the fig leaf 'resign once found a new job or you'll be given a buy out.'

(The Oreskes story was also a rumour, just to be clear, so to say Schmemann's fate is identical to Oreskes - accusations of disloyalty to Bill Keller - I really can't say.)

The line goes like this, if you buy it, and I have no idea: Oreskes and Schmemann temporarily enjoyed protective patronage of Michael Golden. Schmemann however was spotted by Keller in a Manhattan eatery enjoying afternoon tea with Golden only hours after a make or break IHT meeting late November.

Seen by who? I don't know, nor does Gawker's source most likely. Classic NYT rumour mill.

What remains to be seen is just how complicated and messy Mr. Schmemann's situation is because there are a lot of accusations running around that I am not going to repeat. I'll leave that to Gawker, but I'm an IHT fan, and try and work on a two-source principle.

Anyway, here's Gawker. Make up your own minds. Perhaps more on this later, but I'm not sure whose benefit it would serve.

Rumormonger, international herald tribune, new york times, new york times company...
william schmidt, serger schemann, michael oreskes, jobs, layoffs, newspapers, media, gossip
Is Bill Keller Purging The IHT?
Times editor Bill Keller's hand was suspected in the May departure of Michael Oreskes from the Times-owned International Herald Tribune. "Fiercely ambitious" Oreskes once vied for editorship of the Times itself, the Post's Keith Kelly reported at the time, and may have been made to pay for a "long history of animosity" with Keller. Now another IHT hand, Serge Schemann is being nudged out the door after accusations of disloyalty to Keller, an email tipster claims. His supposed crime: A meeting with former IHT publisher Michael Golden, the rival and cousin to Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, just hours after a "make or break" November IHT meeting in Manhattan, a meeting that presumably involved Sulzberger underling Keller.
Golden had a close relationship with not just Schemann but Oreskes as well, having
hired him to the IHT and having, according to our tipster, enjoyed with Schemann his temporary "protective patronage."
Oreskes officially left IHT of his own accord to become the first managing editor for U.S. news at the Associated Press. Schemann is said to now be under pressure to likewise find his own landing place — or else be forced to accept a buyout.
With his departure, the IHT op-ed section would then be folded into the Times operations in New York, much as is being
folded into
Given the extent to which the Times appears to be gutting the IHT, one wonders why the company bothers to keep it as a separate brand rather than simply identifying it as the European edition of the Times.

And here are some comments about it all on Gawker:


SarahHeartburn at 06:13 AM on 09/15/08
Reply by Email *
Connectedness Index: 0
I think you're right. I still buy the IHT from time to time, more out of nostalgia, or if I'm traveling* and want the puzzle. More and more, however, it's filled with NYT stories that I've already read that morning on the web, and it's frankly a waste of time. Years ago, when a lot of English language schools subscribed to the IHT (pre-internet dark times)a saleswoman for the paper in Spain told me that the Times deliberately didn't market the NYT in Europe so people would buy the IHT. Now it doesn't seem to matter.
*though it's oversized pages do not make one a welcome traveling companion. Will they ever offer a tabloid size option, like The Independent?

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
Swordfish at 08:50 AM on 09/15/08
Reply by Email *
They wanted to call it the New York Times International Edition when they bullied the Washington Post out its co-ownership. But marketing testing told them that NYTs didn't carry the same weight overseas as IHT, so they reluctantly kept it, with New York Times smaller underneath the title. One of these days we know IHT is gonna disappear. And I suspect it's going to happen overnight, without any warning.Then Cathy Horyn will get Suzy Menkes "retired" and take over that space, and everyone at NYTs HQ will be happy.

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
cosmiclove at 09:32 AM on 09/15/08
Reply by Email *
I bet the brilliant Oreskes can rattle off the history of Spuyten Duyvil. I'm certain Keller, as smart as he is, doesn't know where it is. Schemann is an old school Lelyveld, Frankel, Rosenthal hold over, so I'm surprised Keller is messing with him. It must be blind ambition.

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
HK_Guy at 10:59 AM on 09/15/08
Reply by Email *
At one time, the IHT was so iconic that Godard could infer a universe of meaning just by having Jean Seberg hawk the damned thing on the streets of Paris in "Breathless." But it may be breathing its last in this age of ... what?

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
forever at 11:31 AM on 09/15/08
Reply by Email *
Lelyveld never trusted Schemann as far as he could see him. Frankel protected and schooled him, not Lelyveld; Not surprised Schemann is out his reign was clouded in allegations of nepotism and sexism.

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
drunkexpatwriter at 12:10 PM on 09/15/08
Reply by Email *
Connectedness Index: 0
The already call it in giant letters "The International Edition Of The New York Times."
I live in Europe and it's the newspaper I read every day. Over the past three years it's gone way fucking downhill. They've gutted the Opt Ed section in order to put ads on those pages, cut the number of comics in favor of suduko puzzles, for some reason gotten rid of Frank Rich but kept the always awful Thomas Friedman, cut the length of their stories and often places sections randomly.
Beyond that, their practice of rotating staff in from the Times on 90 day stints (to avoid French labor laws) they often have a copy editing staff that is not used to the paper. This means that roughly every three months we get a week of stories posted two or even three times in the same edition (often they'll have a small version of the story in the national section and then the same story with an addition two or three paragraphs in the business section) or posted on multiple days.
Several times they've included an entire four page section from the previous day's paper in the current edition.
And they've raised their price to 2.5 euros which is insane.
It used to be the best newspaper in the world, but now it's quickly becoming a piece of shit.

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
drunkexpatwriter at 12:11 PM on 09/15/08
Reply by Email *
Connectedness Index: 0
This is a copy of a letter I sent to the IHT a couple of months ago that I never got a reply to:

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
SarahHeartburn at 01:30 PM on 09/15/08
Reply by Email *
Connectedness Index: 0
drunkexpatwriter: I did not realize that about the copy staff and the resultant errors. Thank you for explaining it, because a few times in the recent past I've read it daily (because a student wanted to) and I thought I was losing it because I would see a story repeated, and assumed it was MY creaky brain imagining things. I would never have supposed that it could be due to the Time's sloppiness.

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
drunkexpatwriter at 07:56 AM on 09/16/08
Reply by Email *
Connectedness Index: 0
SarahHeartburn: Yeah, the deal is if they have them working on site in Paris for more than 90 days then they become subject to French employment law, which the Times clearly wants to avoid.
I discovered this a few years ago when one of the women they had sent to Paris contacted me on a dating site (she was looking for dudes in France who spoke English) and I eventually asked her what was up with the repeated stories and the cycle of errors.
That said, at the end of the 90 day cycle the paper often looks really good. But that's when you know it's going to suddenly go down the crapper.

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...
cosmiclove at 09:17 PM on 09/16/08
Reply by Email *
forever: Interesting. My mistake. I always thought Lelyveld protected Schmemann long after Frankel left. Serge certainly got good assignments under his watch, though he was called into headquarters later. Not sure if they clerked together. Maybe one was behind the other. Keller's about four years younger. They may be competitive, especially over the Soviet coverage.

2 responses below This is an excerpt from one of the posts...


International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

Murdoch: "Hard Times Are Good For Big Companies" - And I Don't Want To Buy The New York Times (NWS)

If memory serves me, didn't he at one point say the same thing about the WSJ, long, long ago? He says he's not interested, then says he's interested in acquisitions in perhaps 6-9 months.

This from Silicon Valley Insider:

Like he has in the past, Rupert Murdoch declares that his newspaper and local TV ad businesses are doing terribly, but that the rest of the company is growing great guns. Or at least enough to ride out a downturn.
And New York Times readers and/or employees who fear that Rupert was going to buy the crown jewel of American journalism can relax. Not going to happen, he says.
Joining late...
"Hard times are good for big companies"
Biggest challenges/uncertainties for next few years?
I don't see uncertainties. I can't see the future. But consumer advertising - newspapers all over the world and local stations in our case - is bad. But we have big profit drivers (cable, etc) that can counter bad things happen to us in traditional advertising.
Most resilient? The WSJ. But that's really b2b advertising, not consumer. And you're going to be surprised how fast we'll grow in Internet activities. But if you're talking about what's going to come back fastest - local TV, etc, I don't know. "The local television market in this country - there's no point in hiding it. It's bad." Car ads make up biggest component of local tv and that's down significantly. UK slowdown started later than U.S. Australian slowdown just starting now.
Trying to exit outdoor business internationally.

We have preliminary agreement to sell to sell Russian business, etc. But you look what happened in the Russian market last week, and I'll believe it when I see it.
Investing in other markets vs. buybacks?

Very interested in India. Star does that, but also looks at smaller territiories, Malaysia. Starting to make films in India, more TV programs. We're extending everywhere. We see ourselves as a creative company. The distribution is secondary, and we'll do more of it, because it gives you secure company. Our business is going to be moving farther and farther away from traditional consumer advertising and toward subscription models.
We're not a big creative music company - we don't want to be. On the other hand, I think either yesterday, or today, we're launching MySpace Music [
memo to Chris DeWolfe - give Rupe a heads up!] and that's going to do well. Hulu already the biggest distributor and seller of TV and movies on the Internet. And the stuff we sell there we get a big margin for.
Stock price to low?

Sure. But too much work to please the analysts. Whenever we do something, the analysts kill us. "When I bought MySpace, they said `He's a frickin idiot. Mad!' A year later ,they were saying it was worth $20 billion or something, which it certainly isn't." Same thing with Fox News.

We're going to be getting revenues of $100 million in advertising. Look at the new redesign. Under the new scheme, the home page ad, which is not to big or too dominant, we're charging $100,000 per day on the home page. On MySpace, the first year or two, we screwed up the selling of that. But now we're selling the MySpace home page an average of $500k per day, up to $1M. So this will be a big deal for us.

Ambitious budget but we've certainly made it for first quarter. Who knows what the next 9 months will hold.
Fox Business, we hopefully we lose as much as we lost in the half-year last year. It will be a three-year thing but we're confident it will be very valuable asset.
Let's talk about print advertising at Dow Jones:

Everyone here hates it but we're actually increasing print ad revenues. New magazine, Barrons. Advertising at European edition up 35% and Asia edition up 25%. There's obvious demand.
Would the DOJ allow you to buy the NYT?

"I don't know. I've never asked them. Whoever wrote that crap, it's nonsense. I'm not interested. We're not interested in buying any more newspapers. We're happy with what we have."
MySpace: Where are you at monetizing current inventory on MySpace?

"I think we do it enough, except we don't charge enough, and we're in danger of cluttering. I'd rather we have fewer ads and charge more."
Google relationship?

"It's going fine. They knew they wouldn't make the $300 million the first year, and they wouldnt' make it the next year, and by the third year they'll be very close. But take a look at the market out there. If they didn't renew, Microsoft would be out there in a minute with a big check."
On to film.

We had a bad summer. We expected a bad summer. Some films moved late, but whatever. One little film we put out turned out to be a dog. But no matter. We had a good 50/50 partner. But starting at Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, and then into next year, we have great films. Night at the Museum sequel; X-Men sequel, Ice age sequel...we'll absorb costs this year and the really big films will throw off profits in 2010.
What do you think about bidding on Olympics down the road?

"I think NBC capitalized pretty well. They don't have much else going for them right now." But who knows? They're launching 9 new shows. Maybe some will be good. We launched 1 new show this fall. Launched last night, did well. World Series should be good for us, if you have the right teams in there (Rupe doesn't want to see the Minnesota Twins in the October classic, we're guessing).
The advertising on the Fox broadcast network is good. Upfront holding up very well, we've had almost no cancellations, and scatter selling very well. It is pretty competitive out there, but we are selling at higher rates than the other. We're at least on target for the network.
Succession plan for Roger Ailes?

He's not going anywhere. He's very happy. (We bet!). I'm very happy with him. We're good friends and we get on well. Are there good people in the company that he's developing? You bet.
Big picture re: acquisitions?

We're not doing anything while the future as murky as it is. We'll give it another 6 months, 9 months, who knows.


International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris

Election 2008: Shining a Light on the (Ir)relevance of Print? (Media Bistro)

I ran a post yesterday about the relevance of print as exposed by the news cycle in the U.S elections. Seems I am not alone in my concerns or thinking.

The is a comment from Media Bistro, quoting on Bill Keller in the NYO.

Election 2008: Shining a Light on the (Ir)relevance of Print? (Media Bistro)
The fallout from this election season is being felt in many different corners of our lives: feminism, such as it is, is once again on the front-burner, SNL may actually be relevant again, and the merits of the caucus vs. primary, may no longer qualify as a bonus question on a civics test, so common a topic did it become last spring. But for our purposes it all comes down to, you guessed it, whether print journalism is still relevant in this election cycle. Not so much, Bill Keller tells the NYO.

"The news outlets that aim to be aggressive, serious and impartial — don't dominate the conversation the way we once did, and that's fine, except it means some excellent hard work gets a little muffled."

But is it really fine?

Actually we think so. And since we still turn to the NYT (online) as a main source of news the fact we rarely see it in print has had very little effect on its relevance in our lives. However! The parts of the paper that pack a punch may be what is shifting. We only have a vague memory of the Johnny Apple days (though, one suspects he's the sort of person that might have made the transition to online life rather smoothly), but Keller points out that the Times investigative pieces appear to be losing their staying power:
One of the casualties, I think, is that powerfully reported and written stories, especially investigative and accountability ones, do not land with the impact they once did, they might still turns heads — and thankfully at times change things — but usually they get pushed aside as the new-media machine moves to the next 'thing.'

(Or they get picked up and carried (or fisked) by the blogosphere.)

Keller uses the Times recent Palin article as an example:
"Even a meaty, damning, 3,100-word, three-bylined front-page Sept. 14 Times piece on Sarah Palin's management style doesn't appear to have the same sort of impact on the campaign trail that it might once have."

But, as we all know, size does not matter in these new media lands the way it once did — perhaps the Times investigative team should consider reporting its next piece via Twitter, we bet that would carry.

What I like about the NYO Observer piece is its similarity to the article in the NYT that I posted yesterday as an illustration of the problem. It's not as is if the NYT and MSM is blind to the problem?

Amid 2008 Campaign Cacophony on the Web, Print Reverts to Hobbesian State

Does print journalism matter in this election?
“It’s obvious, and no crime against humanity, that the world has many, many places to turn for information, misinformation, analysis, rants, etc,” wrote Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, in an e-mail. “We—The Times, The Washington Post, Politico, the news outlets that aim to be aggressive, serious and impartial—don’t dominate the conversation the way we once did, and that’s fine, except it means some excellent hard work gets a little muffled.
“But we do want our work to be noticed,” he wrote, “and I’ve been repeatedly surprised at the rich, important stories that fail to resonate the way they deserve.”
On one level, more people read The Times, albeit in digital form, than ever. The pipeline piece did a brisk business as an e-mail forward. But so did everything else anyone had to say that day about the campaign—whether it was true or false, reported or simply asserted, fact or opinion. In-boxes crammed with New York Times articles and Huffington Post hyperlinks do not advertise their relative value or importance. Everything is equal, everything is a tie and nothing, it seems, is important anymore.
Nobody has felt this more acutely than the Newspapers and Magazines of Record in the United States. The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time: all over the world of “quality” journalism, there is a feeling of decline.
“There can no longer be a Johnny Apple—a single political reporter who can set the agenda as he did when he discovered Jimmy Carter,” said Frank Rich, columnist for The New York Times. “Whether in print or on the Internet or on television.”
“At Politico we often talk about winning the morning, not just winning the day,” said Jim VandeHei, the editor of Politico. “Because the news cycle is no longer 24 hours—it might be 16 hours or even shorter.”
It works well for Politico, but if everyone is readjusting to that breakneck pace, how much real news is left? And who’s there to suss out the real from the junk?
“The story burns more intensely and then it burns out more quickly,” said Jonathan Alter, the Newsweek writer, musing about the life cycle of pieces. “And there’s so much information and so much political coverage that it’s easy for good stories to be lost entirely in that register.”
“Very few of these stories have a long finish,” said Michael Duffy, the nation editor for Time. “The gong dissipates quickly.”
“My instinct is that there is such cacophony of commentary that it does sometimes drown out ideas from good and deeply reported journalism,” said Marcus Brauchli, the executive editor of The Washington Post.
“In the Internet age, the cycle is constant and people don’t really have time to reflect all day on a single story in the newspaper,” he added. “And it’s more difficult to set the agenda for very long.”
Mr. VandeHei agrees.
“One of the casualties, I think, is that powerfully reported and written stories, especially investigative and accountability ones, do not land with the impact they once did,” he said. “They might still turns heads—and thankfully at times change things—but usually they get pushed aside as the new-media machine moves to the next ‘thing.’”
But such are the pressures of trying to produce material all day—even if it’s unclear what’s actually being absorbed from the information that’s being produced.
Mr. Keller, for one, wonders what happened to the big stories The Times reported during the election cycle.
There was a Jo Becker and Don Van Natta investigative piece of Bill Clinton’s relationship with Kazakhstan—barely noticed. There was a piece in the spring by David Kirkpatrick and Jim Rutenberg about John McCain’s relationship with Donald Trump in Arizona—hardly a word.
Even a meaty, damning, 3,100-word, three-bylined front-page Sept. 14 Times piece on Sarah Palin’s management style doesn’t appear to have the same sort of impact on the campaign trail that it might once have, Mr. Keller said.

“And it’s not just us,” said Mr. Keller. “The Washington Post did an impressive review of Cindy McCain’s drug addiction the other day, and I didn’t hear an echo. I could go on, and so could you. This kind of rigorous, intricate reporting is a major contribution to the public debate, and it certainly gets read. (Our Sunday Palin piece is still number one on the most e-mailed list.) But this kind of work doesn’t dominate the discussion the way it might have in elections past.”
That Palin piece, as of Tuesday morning, was still the second most e-mailed story on the Times Web site, and it had more than 1,050 comments.
Doesn’t 1,050 comments mean something? Doesn’t that suggest an even more meaningful impact than in the old days?
“The answer is no,” said Michael Powell, one of the three authors of The Times’ Palin piece. “It doesn’t get picked up the same way.”
That is, it gets picked up, but only by people who seem to refuse to break the tie between the journalism coming from The New York Times, the spin coming from the campaign trail, and the white noise of punditry and Web-ready opinionizing.
Despite its popularity, the Palin piece appears ready for the inevitable lifetime of a print story these days: It’s hot one second, gone and forgotten the next.
“I say this from a cultural point of view, not a political point of view or journalistic point of view—but bubble gum music just fades and leaves no trace,” said Mr. Rich. “We’re in a laboratory right now and we don’t know what’s really landing with voters.”
There is, of course, good old television.
Keith Olbermann isn’t sitting in his office with the morning papers weighing which lead-all from which major paper will drive the news for the night—in a way that, say, Uncle Walter would do before the CBS Evening News. Instead, you might get a nice anecdote from an Adam Nagourney story in The Times, a response from the McCain camp—and then it’s up to you, the viewer, to break the tie! If you can.
“Everybody knows that if it takes more than five seconds to explain the story, it’s not going to make a lot of noise on the campaign trail,” said Matt Taibbi, a columnist for Rolling Stone.
Mr. Keller, for his part, said that television “seems to shy away from complicated stories, and these big stories tend to be complicated.
“The simple-minded silliness of lipstick-on-a-pig filled at least one cable news cycle, but the question of what kind of executive Sarah Palin has been as mayor and governor didn’t lend itself to the bite-sized format of the nightly news or the constant low-grade babble of cable,” he continued.
In addition to the increased competition from blogs and electronic media, major print news outfits are, of course, indulging in all that the modern-day media environment offers: quick items, videocasts, online chats.
And, if you talk to the dinosaurs, it doesn’t help any.
“The big change for all of us is that we’re all multimedia players now and it means that we’re much busier writing and being on TV or Webcasts, and that can often leave less time for reporting,” said Mr. Alter. “That’s the real problem.”
“I think what’s changed mostly is that we are working every day in three or four dimensions—plotting stories for the Web today, the magazine tomorrow and long investigative pieces three or four weeks from now,” said Mr. Duffy, an editor at Time. “Maybe there’s a fourth dimension, too, and folks are blogging stuff every hour.”
“There’s so much content to fill,” said Mr. Taibbi. “People who write for news magazines like Newsweek and Time, in the old days, they’d be writing one feature a week. Now they have to file every single day for Web sites, and do video hits, appear on TV shows, and that’s in addition to writing their features. The same people are doing four and five times as much work and, obviously, they’re not going to have a great deal of depth on any subject.”
“Hobbes talked about the war of all against all,” said Mr. Alter. “Now it’s the punditry of all against all.”

My response to all this is nothing more than
a) newspapers are increasingly demonstrating and even admitting to their increasing irrelevance (or rather Newspaper 1.0 is)
b) time to move to Newspaper 2.o

As I've said before: print needs to change.

International Herald Tribune
New York Times
Vacation /Business Trip Furnished Apartment in Paris