Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The New York Times: No News Is Better Than Bad News

Here’s one concrete way that the New York Times (NYT) can stop the depressing stream of news emanating from its corporate headquarters: Stop releasing a depressing stream of news.

Each month, the paper has been dutifully providing a fairly detailed revenue update. And for the past year or so, each one of those reports has gotten progressively more unpleasant–unpleasantness that is dutifully reported by the likes of me.

I’ve never understood why the Times does this, because it’s not a SEC requirement. And while I’m not complaining–the numbers provide great insight into the business–I can’t really see the upside for the company.

Turns out that the company agrees. Today’s monthly update is the last one the paper will deliver, chief financial officer James Follo announced this morning during the paper’s earnings call.

Bummer. But again, understandable. At least the paper is fairly forthcoming on its earnings calls–there was plenty of interesting stuff discussed today, and I’ll report back on that later on.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald