Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Old Gray Lady Unchained

From Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, at PuffHo, "The New York Times Is Leaving the U.S Newspaper Industry Behind":
The announcement that the New York Times Company wants to sell the New England Media Group (including the Boston Globe) and focus on its flagship title illustrates how the New York Times is leaving the U.S. newspaper industry behind.

The paper that Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sr. worked to transform from a Manhattan-based operation into a national operation through satellite printing and regional editions his son Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. now works to turn into a truly global news content company through an emphasis on digital subscriptions and new Portuguese and Chinese language editions oriented towards cosmopolitan elites in emerging markets.

This transition from metropolitan newspaper with national aspirations to metropolitan news organization with both national and international readership is not an easy move for the New York Times. But it is an impossible move to even contemplate for the Boston Globe, let alone the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the two titles that, with various related operations, make up the bulk of the New England Media Group.

By putting the New England Media Group up for sales, the New York Times Company and its new CEO, former BBC General Director Mark Thompson, has implicitly acknowledged that searching for a way forward for the Globe and the Telegram & Gazette, important as that is in itself, is an unwelcome distraction from the company's primary objective of moving the flagship title forward by building the national and international audience.

It is no longer clear that the Times has much in common with these titles, or that the synergies sought when they were bought in 1993 (in joint advertising sales, for example) matter very much anymore. It is, however, clear that these titles do not have the resources or the brand to cater to the global audience the New York Times itself seeks, and that they are now probably losing money or at best breaking even.

And at the Old Gray Lady, "Herald Tribune to Be Renamed The International New York Times."

I don't care. Just don't go out of business.

Folks can cry all they want about left wing bias at the New York Times --- and that includes me with some frequency --- but no matter. It's still at the top of the heap for the national newspapers. I read it. I critique it. What are you gonna do? You go to media war with the media you have.