Publisher's Rhetoric May Be Just A Lot Of Air -- At Least For Now
Catch someone in an unguarded moment and you might be surprised about what you hear. Such a moment transpired in the rarefied air of Davos, home of the World Economic Forum.
That's where Eytan Avriel of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz cadged a short Q&A with New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger (above left), who normally hides behind NYT flacks.
Here's an eyebrow-raiser from that chat:
"I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care, either."
Ouch. Yet Pinch surely doth protest too much. He knows, of course, that the once-Gray Lady will still be responsible for killing millions of trees now and for decades to come.
That doesn't mean, though, that the Times won't increase its already-formidable Web presence. It will, and it has to.
But he's aware that the broadsheet is still the straw that stirs the online version's drink, especially when the act of holding a newspaper in one's hands remains a more-interactive experience than nytimes.com can provide on a daily basis.
Still, you have to think the gang over on West 43rd St. is hardly reassured hearing those words, hyperbolic as they now are. The Internet may be the Times' future, but that would be a future that inevitably begets a smaller staff and fewer resources to actual newsgathering -- both of which have already shrunk to dangerous levels.
Good for the techies, bad for the newsies.
Chances are, though, that's not going to be a story you'll be able to read about in the Times.