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Opening Arguments

Sad Times

If the publisher of The New York Times admits to being worried, I guess the rest of us should be, too:

Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years?

"I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either," he says.

Sulzberger is focusing on how to best manage the transition from print to Internet.

"The Internet is a wonderful place to be, and we're leading there," he points out.

The Times, in fact, has doubled its online readership to 1.5 million a day to go along with its 1.1 million subscribers for the print edition.

Sulzberger says the New York Times is on a journey that will conclude the day the company decides to stop printing the paper. That will mark the end of the transition. It's a long journey, and there will be bumps on the road, says the man at the driving wheel, but he doesn't see a black void ahead.

There will always be something resembling the newspaper, in function if not in form. People will always want to know, and there will always be a need for information gatekeepers. The Internet is likely not even the final form we will see. And there will still be people making money from news -- just different people in different ways.

But the end of the print era, if indeed it comes, will be a sad one, and we will be missing many things we take for granted today. You wouldn't want to swat flies with your laptop, and you can't wrap breakables in them. Might get it to fit in the bottom of some birdcages, though.


Steve Towsley
Thu, 02/08/2007 - 12:39pm

I honestly wouldn't worry about it. No matter how many blogs clutter the landscape hawking suspect news and even more spurious analysis, there will always be a need -- I think an increasing need -- for well educated, trained, professional and experienced news reporters.

Laymen are important because they are voters. Journalists are important because they are disciplined and hopefully accurate (except when they indulge in flights of fancy on the opinion page, perhaps, present company mostly excluded).

There is no substitute for expertise. Even if we all published a blog, the news would, should and must still be far more reliable.

Bob Stackhouse
Sat, 02/10/2007 - 6:30pm

Since the NY Times moved its Op-Ed Columnists to the paid site TimesSelect.com, we have been spared the boring treatises of Leftists Thomas L. Friedman, Maureen Dowd and that famous "Economist", Paul "Enron" Krugman. When the Times stops publishing, we will finally be rid of the traitorous publicist, "Little Pinch" Sulzberger.

Ridding the country of a newspaper that substitutes opinion for news and hires upstanding reporters such as plagiarist Rick Bragg and make-up (stories) artist Jayson Blair will not be a loss.