Eytan AvrielÂ had aÂ discussion with NYT owner, chairman and publisherÂ Arthur SulzbergerÂ at the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland.Â He has some very interesting things to report from that conversation inÂ Haeretz today.Â Here is anÂ excerpt.
Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years?
“I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either,” he says.
Sulzberger is focusing on how to best manage the transition from print to Internet.
“The Internet is a wonderful place to be, and we’re leading there,” he points out.
The Times, in fact, has doubled its online readership to 1.5 million a day to go along with its 1.1 million subscribers for the print edition.
Sulzberger says the New York Times is on a journey that will conclude the day the company decides to stop printing the paper. That will mark the end of the transition. It’s a long journey, and there will be bumps on the road, says the man at the driving wheel, but he doesn’t see a black void ahead.
And then he said this:
In the age of bloggers, what is the future of online newspapers and the profession in general? There are millions of bloggers out there, and if the Times forgets who and what they are, it will lose the war, and rightly so, according to Sulzberger. “We are curators, curators of news. People don’t click onto the New York Times to read blogs. They want reliable news that they can trust,” he says.
“We aren’t ignoring what’s happening. We understand that the newspaper is not the focal point of city life as it was 10 years ago.Â
Â “Once upon a time, people had to read the paper to find out what was going on in theater. Today there are hundreds of forums and sites with that information,” he says. “But the paper can integrate material from bloggers and external writers. We need to be part of that community and to have dialogue with the online world.”
Old media meet new media indeed.
Reaction from the blogosphere: Glass HouseÂ
I’m pretty optimistic about the role of journalism, in print and online. Good to see Art agrees with me. 😉
The other missing piece is to provide subway and other travelers a means to read that content without firing up a laptop.
the Times is happy to embrace the internet, so long as it’s on its own terms, and the core business model remains the same. It still wants to get paid the same way, and it hopes that its 155 years of history as the paper of record will allow it remain a trusted source of news. Cast in this light, the rhetoric about one day abandoning the print edition doesn’t really sound so radical.