TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: NY Times Plans Major Job Cutback

Re: NY Times Plans Major Job Cutback
13 Jan 2007 12:52:30 -0800

Mark Crispin wrote:

> I would claim that a more important factor is that many long-time
> subscribers (such as myself) grew weary of being spoon fed ideological
> pablum and dropped our subscriptions en masse. Jayson Blair is a
> symptom of a much more far-reaching problem at the Grey Lady (and
> other once-reputable newspapers).

I disagree that the NYT or other major traditional newspapers give out
"ideological pablum"

> It's convenient to blame the Internet and other alternative media; it
> avoids having to take a hard self-examination.

I don't deny that a hard self-examination is necessary, and I would
agree that _some_ subscription loss may be for ideological reasons.
But I think there's a much broader problem of papers not selling that
needs to be properly researched.

When I was a kid almost every household got the daily paper. Some
households got two. That is no longer true; many homes today don't
get any daily paper at all. Why is that? That must be ascertained.

I don't know all the reasons, but I would submit some reasons are:

1) People drive to work instead of transit and they aren't reading the
paper on the train/bus as they used to.

2) Both parents work these days (assuming there even is two parents)
and there is little time left over to relax and read the paper at
night. Mother isn't home during the day to pause and read it and in
the evening Father has his chores to do and can't read it.

3) Far more people live in the suburbs and just don't care about the
big city issues anymore, the stuff that was the bread 'n butter of a
city newspaper. Suburbanites without any city connection -- as many are
today -- don't care about City Hall or inner city issues.
Unfortunately, it's a lot harder for a newspaper to cover every tiny
town meeting of the suburbs, where many towns can be just a few square

4) The cost of covering a much larger developed area and distributing
the newspaper to said area is considerably more.

5) If you compare a newspaper today to one say of 1974, you'll find
the 1974 edition much smaller. Over the years they've added many
features to the newspaper that weren't there in the past. This is a

6) TV always was the enemy of print. With cable, there's so much more
on TV now (though mostly garbage*) and people watch instead of read.

*Cable TV now seems to be recycled sitcoms loaded down with frequent

> All newspapers have an editorial viewpoint; that is the purpose of the
> editorial page. However, when the newspaper taints its hard news
> reporting with that viewpoint, particularly when it reaches the
> extreme of inventing quotes and incidents to match, then it ceases to
> anything more than a propaganda organ.

> The Times was once the paper that both dogmatic rightist and equally
> dogmatic leftist read to get the hard facts, even as both vehemently
> disagreed with the editorial. The Times had "all the news that's fit
> to print", even when that news was inconvenient for its editorial
> viewpoint; and it was respected and trusted for that.

> Sadly, that has not been the case for many years.

> The Times has fallen quite low, little better than the tabloids. It
> will take a good deal of work to bring it back. I see little sign of
> that happening.

> -- Mark --

> Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for lunch.
> Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Do either of you -- Mark or Lisa --
remember when the Sunday New York Times first weighed in at five
pounds? Five pounds of newspaper every Sunday. There was an article
about it in the NY Times the next day ... Does _anyone_ actually read
all of the Sunday paper? Not just the Times, but any Sunday paper? PAT]

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