Help The New York Times save $$!
An investor at Thursday’s 2009 New York Times annual meeting came up with a heck of a way to save money. But first, a recap of all the serious stuff that executives brought up at the meeting (Read the whole thing on the wire):
- We will stay public.
- We will not be sold.
- There is no one solution to what ails the newspaper business.
- We’re trying everything.
- Stop asking about us closing The Boston Globe or selling it. We won’t tell you until we’re ready. (By the way, it only took the Times nearly a month to reveal what the Globe has reported for ages: It is on track to lose $85 million this year.)
Now for money-saving tips for the struggling TImes, courtesy of an investor whose name I didn’t get a chance to catch. Here’s what she said to Times Co Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr during an investor Q&A:
As to savings on newsprint, I see belabored articles taking almost full pages on obscure topics… perhaps [about] someone in the Brazilian forest I cannot do anything about. So if you’re trying to save newsprint, perhaps you could edit these things to a more reasonable size… [Then] there is the expense you incur editorially in aspects that are really not necessary. [Times food critic] Frank Bruni had to go to Texas to write about a pork restaurant which most of your readers will never go to… Cathy Horyn had to go to the Dominican Republic to interview Oscar de la Renta who is here 90 percent of the time.
Tough call for a reporter like me. Who doesn’t love traveling to interesting places and writing about them, preferably at 5,000 words a pop? Then again, if it’s all about readers first…
Meanwhile, another investor complained that the Times does not offer enough local coverage, but seems to have the budget to send reporters all around the world. “Send these people to Brooklyn! Send these people to the Bronx!” he said of Times reporters. “You will increase circulation.”
Sulzberger paused for a moment, then reminded the investor that the Times won a Pulitzer this week for local reporting. As to whether shareholders can reap the dividends of Pulitzers, that’s another story…
(Cartoon: Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., courtesy of Paul Szep)