The New York Times has found an unusual new contributor for its Op-Ed page, said Ben Chapman in Radar online. U2 front-man Bono will submit—without pay—up to 10 columns next year, writing about "Africa, poverty, and, importantly, the music of Frank Sinatra.” Op-Ed editor Andrew Rosenthal didn’t say if Bono, or someone else, was replacing conservative columnist Bill Kristol, whose contract ends in January. But he did drop hints about writers he might like better.
The Times definitely seems to prefer pop stars to conservatives, said Sean Michaels in Britain’s The Guardian. Rosenthal is no fan of op-eds by Condoleezza Rice, but he likes opinion columns Bruce Springsteen has written. And the Times has expressed interest in bringing back Queen guitarist Brian May—who is also an astrophysicist and has written about space.
Bono is more than just a singer, too, said Carol Eisenberg in Muckety. He’s also “palled around with presidents and prime ministers, and been nominated for a Nobel Prize.” But certainly his celebrity could bring young readers to the “cash-strapped” paper. So everybody wins. Bono gets to “share his thoughts with the Times’ influential readers”; the Times gets Bono—for free.
The price tag is key, said Glynnis MacNicol in mediabistro.com. The Times is in need of some serious “belt-tightening,” after reporting losses and plans to cut its dividend. Hopefully Bono will help the Times from “going the way of the dinosaur.” The transition from print to online is hard, but the Times is “(by far) the best example” of how to do it well.