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The fate of The New York Times
What front-page ads say about the paper's future
 

The New York Times is doomed, said Michael Wolff in Newser. “For so long, mine was the lonely and vilified voice” saying that, but the end of the Times is becoming “the conventional forecast.” It was taken up most recently by Michael Hirschorn, who writes in The Atlantic that the Times could go out of business in May, when $400 million of its $1 billion in debt comes due.

"Relax, Times-o-philes," said Rick Edmonds in Poynter Online. The May doomsday scenario "is not the least bit plausible." The paper has plenty of ways to come up with the cash it needs. And the print edition still has millions of loyal readers, so Hirschorn's prediction of a print-free, all-online future is a bit premature.

There’s hope for the Times yet, said Ken Doctor in Seeking Alpha. The paper’s management started the year by launching their first ads on the front page, and they reportedly bring in up to $100,000 a pop. It’s too bad the Times resisted doing this for so long, but at least now the paper is facing the reality that newspapers are in a struggle for survival as readership and advertisers dry up.

The soon-to-be-bankrupt Times, “flagship of the Dead Tree media,” doesn’t have its heart in the fight, said Bill Dupray in Examiner.com. The paper’s editors “held their collective noses” when they ran the first page-one ad, “noting that the barbaric thing would be kept below the fold—out of sight, like the help.”

The Times is serious enough about the ads it prints, said James Surowiecki in The New Yorker, but it needs to do better with the ads it uses to sell itself. Because of the old beliefs about the purity of the Fourth Estate, the Times has been unwilling to hire the cultural movers and shakers that read it to sell its “exceptional brand,” and explain why the print edition of the newspaper is an “irreplaceable experience.”

 

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