Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

What’s the Good News at the New York Times?

How did New York Times investors respond to the news that Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. (NWS) will spend $15 million taking on the paper in its own hometown? They love it!

How else to explain a weird spike in New York Times (NYT) shares?

Sometime after noon today, traders started bidding the stock way up, from $11 to $12, though it’s now dropping back down again. As I write this, shares are moving down to the $11.60 range, which is still a jump of six percent, without any obvious reason.

Unless you count the news today that the paper is printing international editions in Bosnia and El Salvador (really).

Looky here (click chart to enlarge): (via Barrons) posits that the spike is based a supposed rumor that Carlos Slim, the billionaire who made a high-interest loan to the paper last year, now wants to buy the whole thing.

But if something that nonsensical can move the market, why stop there? Why not suggest, for instance, that investors were tickled pink about the new photo slideshow tool the Times is showing off on its front page? (It really is pretty cool. You should check it out.)

Oh, for the record, the Times has nothing to say about this. Per spokeswoman Diane McNulty: “It’s not our practice to comment on Internet rumors.”

Meanwhile, as Adam Isserlis at Rubenstein Communications notes, the Times isn’t the only newspaper stock popping today: E. W. Scripps (SSP) is up more than 12 percent in a flat market. No discernible reason for that rise, either. Oh, and Gannett (GCI) and Media General (MEG) are up too.

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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