And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
– Matthew 13:42
Buzzfeed has obtained a report written by the New York Times on how they are going to deal with digital media, and it is dire indeed from their viewpoint. I imagine a similar document exists at APN and Fairfax.
A 96-page internal New York Times report, sent to top executives last month by a committee led by the publisher’s son and obtained by BuzzFeed, paints a dark picture of a newsroom struggling more dramatically than is immediately visible to adjust to the digital world, a newsroom that is hampered primarily by its own storied culture.
The Times report was finalized March 24 by a committee of digitally oriented staffers led by reporter A.G. Sulzberger. His father, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, fired Executive Editor Jill Abramson Tuesday, a decision that doesn’t appear immediately related to the paper’s digital weaknesses.
The report largely ignores legacy competitors and focuses on the new wave of digital companies, including First Look Media, Vox, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and BuzzFeed.
“They are ahead of us in building impressive support systems for digital journalists, and that gap will grow unless we quickly improve our capabilities,” the report warns. “Meanwhile, our journalism advantage is shrinking as more of these upstarts expand their newsrooms.”
“We are not moving with enough urgency,” it says.
It is speed which is killing them and an adherence to deadlines. Radio doesn’t have deadlines, they run news as it happens. The true legacy organisations are television and print, both run a deadline model, where most people have actually read or heard about the news by time their deadline rolls around.
The deep problems, the report says, are cultural, including a sense that the Timeswill simply serve as a destination — leading to a neglect of social promotion. One factor is an obsessive focus on the front page of the print paper, with reporters evaluated in their annual reviews on how many times they’ve made A1.
“The newsroom is unanimous: we are focusing too much time and energy on Page One,” the report says. Read more »