Media business

Publishing goes high-tech

Research and development departments are not something one generally associates with newspaper companies – even those that have remodelled themselves as multi-channel news companies.

But at the New York Times, Nick Bilton leads a team designing technologies “that will become commonplace in a 24-48-month time frame.” Another sign that the Times is investing now for a post-print future.

Emily Nussbaum, in a January 11 piece in New York Magazine, provides a glimpse into Bilton’s research lab as well as the organizational attitudes and decision-making that enable to produce such ground-breaking features as the US Election Word Train.

Read this article for inspiration.

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Imagining the world without a (printed) NY Times

New York Times

Writing in the current issue of the Atlantic under the stark headline End Times, Michael Hirschorn warns that the newspaper industry’s transition to a digital business model will be neither smooth, comfortable nor leisurely.

2009 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for the industry as it contends with shrinking advertising revenues in its print editions, the migration of readers to the internet, high debt loads and the sudden onset of a global economic recession.

Hirschorn regards the position of the New York Times as particularly perilous, as the company needs to find US$400 million by May in order to avoid defaulting on part of its US$1 billion debt load.

Not everyone agrees that the Times situation is quite so dire. But Hirschorn still makes some interesting conjectures on how newspapers such as the Times can best succeed in a post-print world:

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The simple way to save a newspaper

Staff of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver continue their online campaign to save the newspaper from closure if a buyer doesn’t come forward by the middle of this month.

Among the personal stories of Rocky staff and the testimonials from loyal readers at the I Want My Rocky blog are four requests from the paper’s staff to their readers:

  • Send a letter to a member Colorado’s congressional delegation to ask that Department of Justice ensure that this process adheres to the spirit and the letter of the Newspaper Preservation Act.
  • Send a letter to the members on the board of E.W. Scripps (owner of the Rocky Mountain News) reminding them how much you value your newspaper.
  • Leave a comment on any of our blog posts, send us an email or a letter telling us what the loss of the Rocky Mountain News would mean to you.

And the one that is the most important — but perhaps the least likely to happen in this day and age:

  • Buy a newspaper.
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