A letter to this writer yesterday from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was a shocker. It thanked me for being a reader.
Kristof had been placed in the role of a marketer.
“I couldn’t do my work without you,” says the First Class letter that was mailed to our home. It added:
“As you realize, the business model of journalism is struggling in the internet age. So when I hear from subscribers how much they depend on The New York Times, I tell them: ‘We depend on you.”
“We have your back, because you have ours,” writes Kristof, “And that’s why it’s me writing this letter and not someone in marketing.”
Kristof is a liberal-oriented columnist, covering human rights, women’s rights, health and global affairs. He is a critic of many of the policies of the Trump Administration. He does not publicly display his email. NYT PR dept. has been asked to relay this story to him.
Other NYT Reporters Quoted
Nineteen other NYT reporters are quoted in a full page of the paper expressing similar gratitude to readers. Reporter Gina Lamb says, “We do this work for you, and we couldn’t do it without you.”
Staffer Ken Paul says, “Day in and day out, the Times’ readers and journalists lend one another ideas, and passion, and even hope.”
Politico magazine said NYT was “groveling to their readers” and called it “pathetic.”
Senior media editor Jack Shafer said the assumed message of one NYT editor might be, “Help! We’re being held hostage in the basement of the Renzo Piano-designed NYT building by the marketing staff and they’ve promised to blow our brains out and chum the waters of the Hudson with our families unless we issue these mortifying endorsements.”
“These corporate blandishments sound wrong coming from journalists because we’ve been trained to regard them as cynical, independent, defiant-of-authority cusses—which they are,” wrote Shafer.
The Kristof letter said “These times demand a partnership with dedicated readers like you who value groundbreaking reporting and what it adds to their lives—and to the world. I hope you’ll continue to support me and my colleagues as we uncover the stories of people, places and events that need to be told.”
NYT on Dec. 27, 1993 and March 7, 1994 reported on O’Dwyer coverage of a talk TJFR publisher Dean Rotbart gave to the 1993 annual conference of PRSA. A lawsuit by TJFR claimed coverage was maliciously false. All charges were dismissed by Federal Court and a settlement was reached with TJFR.
Sulzberger at Hunter College May 22, 2015
NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., executive editor Dean Baquet and Jack Rosenthal, former editorial page editor, addressed a program at Hunter College May 22, 2015.
Sulzberger talked about the transformation from a company reliant on advertising revenue to one dependent on circulation sales. Advertising, which once generated 90 percent of revenues, now accounts for 40 percent of sales, he said.
He made a pitch for subscribers, urging the audience to encourage family members and friends to sign up for subscriptions. Baquet kidded that he expected Sulzberger to plug the toll-free subscription hotline.
Sulzberger said family control of the Times is a point of pride. He serves as one of the eight family trustees, who meet annually at the paper to discuss business and at the yearly reunion to cement times.
He noted that a recent survey found that only three percent of family-owned businesses survive into the third generation.
The sold-out session was presented by Hunter College's Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute in New York. Only three questions were allowed from the audience.