Wednesday, October 22, 2008

N.Y. Times Has Cash for Notecards, But What About the News?

No Reflection on Damon Winter, But We Need More News, Fewer Gifts

It was super-swell of The New York Times to enclose a gift "as a loyal subscriber" in last Sunday's paper. Inside an envelope, was a series of three notecards illustrated by photographs from the immensely talented Damon Winter.
Winter joined the Times as a staff photographer last year, a no-brainer pickup after looking at his work from The Los Angeles Times.
This showcase with the notecards is evidence the paper knows a good thing when we see it. Looking at his portfolio, it's hard not to.
Nonetheless, I'm concerned about the expense in sending out packages of notecards to hundreds of thousands of customers, some of whom jno doubt threw them away with the circulars.
Given the belt-tightening that is too often apparent in the daily paper, I can't help but wonder if this is money that could have been better spent for newsgathering. Most likely, the Times would argue the Winter cards are part of the marketing budget and have nothing to do with editorial.
But all of the money ultimately comes out of the same, increasingly ragged kitty. And more of that should be spent on sending Winter on more assignments, so his outstandng work can be seen in the paper more often.

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