This was my open tab I forgot to close over the weekend, essentially that the NYTimes is trying to figure out (and has been for a while) why the rest of us don’t read the NYTimes.
So the paper has put together a team to help ensure confidence in its journalism and broaden its reach beyond NYCity hubs and across political lines to amass a readership of 10M paid subscribers. You know, they want to win us over so we will shell out our precious Ameros.
The initiative was unveiled on September 15 in a slick press release introducing a 10-person “cross-functional” team that includes three journalists from the newsroom—newly acquired former Politico executive editor Paul Volpe,veteran media reporter Edmund Lee, and senior Culture editor Susanna Timmons—plus staffers from product, design, marketing, and audience insights. It’s part of a supercharged standards operation that’s been expanding under the aegis of Cliff Levy, one of the Times’ highest-ranking newsroom figures and someone whose name has been bandied about in the succession sweepstakes. It was described to me as “such a signature thing for the publisher” and “one of his biggest priorities right now.” The announcement raised eyebrows in media circles, but it also left many scratching their heads, with boilerplate such as “developing innovative ways of deepening our audience’s trust in our mission and in the credibility of our journalism, no matter where it is encountered.”
Say what? You don’t need Kreskin to learn that we, the grotty little people don’t trust the media (generally) and the NYTimes (specifically) because they’ve been in the bag for Republicans for years. See: Judith Miller, Maggie Haberman, the entire opinion staff (with limited exceptions).
But what really caught my eye is this ‘graph (emphasis mine):
The more people outside of coastal bubbles like New York, Washington, and L.A. who trust the Times and understand its mission, the more subscribers the Times can potentially net. The goal is 10 million paying readers by 2025; at the end of the second quarter, there were 7,936,000, including 7,133,000 digital-only subscribers. As a third source with knowledge of the project put it, part of the idea is “to broaden the Times’ readership and make sure that the Times is innovating. Broader means all kinds of readers, including politically. But we need more young readers, we need more readers of color, more who are middle class or lower class, and so on.”
Pro-tip: When you want to sell your expensive subscriptions to us unsophisticated yokels, don’t call us lower class.