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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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work