Thursday, January 02, 2003


New York Times reporting on the behavior of The New York Times Company is usually highly polished, with perfect quotes from management and rosey scenarios for whatever management is plotting. So this morning's report by David Kirkpatrick on the NYT's takeover of the International Herald Tribune is revealing, since it describes management as essentially clueless.

The key graphs:

"Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Co., said it intended to keep the existing International Herald Tribune intact. 'We are not jumping into this to change the IHT,' Sulzberger said. 'We are jumping into this to understand a marketplace that we don't understand the way we should.'"

Edward Atorino, an analyst who follows newspaper companies at the investment bank Blaylock Partners, said the Herald Tribune might eventually provide a useful base for international expansion, a logical extension of The Times's recent moves to attract more readers in the United States outside New York. But Atorino said profit from publishing internationally was unlikely to amount to a significant sum for The New York Times Co. as a whole. .

Howell Raines, executive editor of The Times, will oversee the news operations of the Herald Tribune. Raines said the international paper, which is printed in many locations around the world, would eventually become part of The Times's strategy to make its journalism available in a variety of formats, including local and national editions and the Herald Tribune, as well as television, radio and the Internet.
"What we are moving toward is a kind of integrated New York Times report that is carried in a variety of media, including the International Herald Tribune," Raines said.

The NYT is jumping into a marketplace (it doesn't) understand? The IHT will eventually become part of a New York Times strategy? The IHT won't make any money? And remember: this is the official, scrubbed-twelve-ways-to-Sunday version of the story.