Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, is fairly confident that despite difficult conditions in the newspaper industry, the Times will survive:
I’m actually not that worried about the future of The New York Times. If you produce a news product that is worthwhile and worth saving, which is my goal, I think we’ll be fine. I think it will be tough, but … as long as we are essential, I think we’ll survive.
Baquet spoke with the Times’ David Carr at a private gathering for subscribers to the Times Premier – a digital offering that costs $585 per year, according to Capital New York.
The Times, which was battered along with the rest of the newspaper industry, has survived the last few years by selling off the money losing Boston Globe, their headquarters, a chain of community newspapers, broadcasting properties and their partial ownership in the Boston Red Sox to raise much needed cash. That saved the Times, but left them with few assets beyond the newspaper itself at a time that newspapers are dying a slow, inexorable death.
How the Times will survive this death spiral is questionable. Digital subscriptions, which had shown rapid growth, are now plateauing, advertising revenue continues on a downward track and print subscribers are hard to come by. Those are not good signs.
Baquet is pinning his hopes on the belief that readers will see the Times as essential. But in a 24/7 news cycle, the news has become a commodity. People are not as loyal to newspapers as they used to be, and in many cases aren’t even sure which publication or website they are reading, as they consume more and more news digitally.
I suggest that the Sulzberger family contact Warren Buffet or Jeff Bezos to see if one of those billionaires is interested in owning another newspaper and saving the Gray Lady from an uncertain future.