The New York Times tries to gloss over the recent loss of several key staffers to other media companies.
From Fishbowl NY
In the last 10 days The New York Times has seen several senior editors and writers take jobs elsewhere, and at a certain point you have to wonder if the Gray Lady is starting to sweat. John Koblin of WWD got Bill Keller, Executive Editor of the paper, to comment on losing the Op-Ed Editor (David Shipley), the Business section Editor (Tim O’Brien) a Middle East correspondent (Dexter Filkins), a senior tech writer (Ashlee Vance), and The New York Times Magazine Food Editor (Christine Muhlke), all within a short time. Keller attempts to be as nonchalant as possible:
We’ve had raids before, and every case is its own thing. If there’s a theme to the recent departures, I think it’s that now the recruiters are less likely to be traditional competitors — WaPo, LAT, WSJ. Now the big-money offers come from a newer competitive set — HuffPo, Bloomberg, etc. — that are suddenly investing in, pardon the expression, content. It may represent a recognition that aggregation isn’t everything.
Try as he might, it’s easy to pick up on the bitterness in Keller’s comment. It sounds like the losses might finally be catching up with him and the Times. Especially when O’Brien, who is going to the Huffington Post, offers up his reason for leaving the paper after so many years:
We’re all standing in the middle of this digital tsunami that’s washing across the journalism landscape.
Let’s hope Keller has a lifeboat.
Those that jumped saw greener pastures elsewhere as the Times continues to be weighed down by its lumbering print model while more nimble web competitors steal their readers.
Keller may be trying to avoid admitting just how devastating these departures are but even he realizes that this may just be the tip of the iceberg until a more full fledged raid on the papers remaining talent begins in earnest and if that happens the Times will be in real trouble.