I subscribe to The New York Time national edition. I counted 1, 3/4 pages of advertising in the first book or section this morning. The print newspaper business is in trouble. You know it. I know it. Luckily, after a slow start, NYT online is going gangbusters. If you search my blog posts from 10-12 years ago you’ll see I held out great hope for the online property – even when it was slow to adapt.
If “All the news that’s fit to print” isn’t booking serious ad revenue, the paper-paper that is, what must be happening to newspapers in secondary and tertiary markets? It’s scary.
One solution might be to hire and promote the absolute best journalists in the land. And make them rock stars. Maggie Haberman may be the closest thing the Times has to a rock star. But there are scores and scores of other writers who need elevated personas and reputations. I know it cuts across the grain of the Old Gray Lady to take second chair to an individual writer, but it’s a potential solution.
Where will the money come from to pay and promote these stellar writer? From the budget that fills some of the other floors at headquarters. Cut the masthead by a third. Sell more stock. I don’t know. Twitter is already helping writers grow their reps. Double down.
We need great journalism. We need great writers.