Thursday, February 08, 2007

NYT printing in 5 years? Sulzberger: 'I don't care'

"I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either," New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger as quoted on

Under Eytan Avriel's byline, Haaretz caught up with Sulzberger at the World Economic Conference in Davo for a quick chat with the normally reticent publisher.

A few other things of note:
On the merging of the print and online news desks: "You know what a newspaper's news desk is like? It's like the emergency room at a hospital, or an office in the military. Both organizations are very goal-oriented, and both are very hard to change. ...
"But once the journalists grasped the concept, they flipped and embraced it, and supported the move."

On the deal with Microsoft to distribute the paper through the Times Reader: "I very much believe that the experience of reading a paper can be transfered to these new devices." But, Sulzberger said, it won't be free.

Is the Times likely to make many new investments on the print side? It doesn't sound like it: "These costs aren't anywhere near what print costs," Sulzberger says. "The last time we made a major investment in print, it cost no less than $1 billion. Site development costs don't grow to that magnitude."

"Once upon a time, people had to read the paper to find out what was going on in theater. Today there are hundreds of forums and sites with that information . ... But the paper can integrate material from bloggers and external writers. We need to be part of that community and to have dialogue with the online world."

While not a particulary earthshaking interview, still worth reading the entire thing and pondering.

Ralph Hanson reminds that this is not all that different from what Sulzberger said in a 1999 Advertising Age roundtable.

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