Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New York Times, RIP

Well, not quite yet.  But the Atlantic has a sobering article on the eventual fate of the Old Gray Lady.  (And thanks to Times-a-holic Fr. W.E.B. for pointing it out).

Bottom line:  the "old media" -- meaning especially newspapers -- are dying.  The longstanding assumption has been that a few titans would survive:  the Times, the WaPo, even The USA Today.  But a look at the numbers suggests otherwise.  In the scariest scenario, the Times could stop publishing in May.

Obviously, a paper like this has a great many fallback positions.  For starters, it could sell some or all of that cool new building.  It could stop paying what we assume are outrageous salaries to its posse of undercompetent op-ed columnists.  (Maureen Dowd is shrill, Frank Rich is shriller, Bob Herbert is predictable, Tom Friedman can earn his keep on the lecture circuit, and everybody hates Bill Kristol, probably including his own mother.  David Brooks seems okay, except for a kind of twerpy affect that makes us suspect he secretly wants to wear bow-ties.)

But when the dust settles, how much can the Times lose and still remain the Times?  If it isn't an all-knowing, omnipresent voice -- the paper of record! -- declaring truth on everything from Balkan politics to society weddings, then what is it?  And without the Times actually doing those things, then what will the rest of the journalistic world aspire to?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know without the Times, I would have no foundation for my epistemology!