Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Shift from serious journalism will doom the Times"

Is the message killing the medium? Michael Hirschorn of the Atlantic offers a provocative analysis of the New York Times.
[T]he business strategy of The New York Times, as practiced since Abe Rosenthal’s editorship in the early ’70s, when New York magazine first threatened the daily’s stranglehold on the city’s lumpen upper-middle class—and as imitated by countless papers around the country—has undermined the perceived value of serious newspaper journalism as well. Under the guise of “service,” The Times has been on a steady march toward temporarily profitable lifestyle fluff. Escapes! Styles! T magazine(s)! For a time, this fluff helped underwrite the foreign bureaus, enterprise reporting, and endless five-part Pulitzer Prize aspirants. But it has gradually hollowed out journalism’s brand, by making the newspaper feel disposable. The fluff is more fun to read than the loss-leading reports about starvation in Sudan, but it isn’t the sort of thing you miss when it’s gone. Not many people would get misty-eyed over the closure of, say, “Thursday Styles,” fascinating as its weekly shopping deconstructions often are.
The New York Times Company is piqued enough to send a rebuttal. Catherine Mathis, senior vice president, scoffs at Hirschorn's guess that it is "certainly plausible" the Times would go kaput as early as May of 2009. “Uninformed speculation,” she scolds.

No comments: