Ronald N. Levy (Nov. 1, 2013): You can see the Times' problem by comparing what the Times prints on
page on with what it COULD print.
It prints news of people hundreds or thousands of miles away, not news you care about much more: news of YOU the redaer--your helth, your appearance, your love life, your money, your family, your happiness and your fears.
Honestly, do you and I care as much about Karzai, Boehner, nuclear experts and China's leaders as about ourselves?
Somewhere yesterday, and this isn't on today's page one, experts were finding fascinating facts about how we can live longer, look better, make more money, be happier and have less worry. PR is reporting much of this info to the media and online and would gladly report more but we can see that the Times isn't printing it on page one and often isn't printing it at all.
Many of the world's greatest cardiologists and cancer doctors are at work in New York, writing articles all the time about what's new, what science is learning and how people can live longer but I'll et the Times has 20 times as many words a week on health insurance as on
how people can be healthier.
If a manufacturer or retailer doesn't offer what people want to buy, sales decline. If shrinks and fortune telers don't tell customers what they want to hear, they go elsewhere. Newspapers have the same challenge: deliver what customers want or lose customers.
Why are healthcare proposals and taxes such a big deal in Washington? Because the public cares so much about health and money.
The change the Times needs most is not in "strategic initiatives" as
reported by Mark Thompson who may be to close to his situation. Nor is the most-needed change in format or even personnel, but in what information it is most inclined to print!
Judge for yourself whether the Times, with a circulation of a milion now, could have two or three million at this time next year by having mainly news of not political and entertainment leaders but news about the readers. Judge whether any of our great PR firms, and many that arfe average, could give Times editors excellent advice about what to print to sharply increase circulation.
In the very first PR courses, students are urged to give editors and bbroadcasters what they want. Could it pay for editors and broadcasters to give more of what the public wants?
You the reader, which would you rather see on page one tomorrow--a
story on how the U.S., China or banks can make more money or a story on how YOU can make more money? What a celebrity can do to look better and feel better or what YOU can do?
It's not that profound: just as Mark Thompson cares more about himself and his paper than about people and newspapers over 1,000 miles away, most people also care more about "me" than about "them".