Michael Kinsley At The New Republic Via Althouse: ‘A Q & A With Jill Abramson’

Full interview here.

Abramson is the lead editor at the NY Times:

‘Um, I think that they would recognize a sort of cosmopolitan outlook that reflects that, even as we become international, we’re a New York–based news institution. I can see how the intensity of coverage on certain issues may to some people seem to reflect a liberal point of view. But I actually don’t think it does. And I’ve been a very close New York Times reader going back to when I began to read, and I don’t see it as profoundly different now.’

Despite the fact that I likely don’t share in the current ideological and political beliefs of many living on the the Upper West Side, nor in the newsroom at the NY Times, it’s interesting to see a paper using its resources to try and leverage itself by getting at ‘the story behind the story.’

No ideology here, just real journalism.

Real journalism requires time and money and it’s what’s suffered most during this period of technological turmoil. Real journalism requires sending reporters out for longer periods of time to get the scoop, digging around for months to make and break the news. Expense accounts, seasoned veterans with thick rolodexes, intrepid insiders still speaking truth to power are the types to be found at the Times.

Real journalists are following events more closely than the blogs and sites like Politico ever could.  This is the competitive advantage the Times has and the value-added to customers, and this the reason they should still exist over at the Times while other papers operating on defunct business-models have folded.

Thus, Abramson acts like a good CEO during the interview, trying to build-up brand loyalty, trust, and the cultural authority that may keep the paper relevant and grow the business around this competitive advantage.

Thus, Abramson also reasonably reinforces the ideological and political beliefs of her core audience which she needs to grow the business, by catering to their belief that they have no specific core ideological and political beliefs.

Are you buying that?

Addition:  It’s been pointed out that the post below this one shows some reliance on the Times.  Sure, when it puts together a piece as well done as the Goya piece.  I might even pay for that.  Soon though, I’d read the comments over there, the op-eds, the breathless tone…and I’d probably cut ties altogether.

Addition:  See Jack Shafer’s ‘News never Made Money, And Is Unlikely To’ for more.

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2 thoughts on “Michael Kinsley At The New Republic Via Althouse: ‘A Q & A With Jill Abramson’

  1. Something major is going in terms of the culture of the Times and to my mind Sullivan has not been reporting on important developments in three areas: 1) staff changes; 2) the financial implications of those and other changes; and 3) the gradual change in the Times’ content. She is the reader’s representative and needs to find out how newsroom people are responding to major staff changes and recent financial decisions. As Arthur Gelb, former managing editor, told me some years ago the way to understand the contemporary Times is to “Follow the money.” Notwithstanding recent staff buyouts as well as the plan to sell the Boston Globe, do CEO Thompson and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. have a viable long-term business model for the Times Company? It is not enough for the Times to say that it does, as it has been saying unconvincingly for the better part of a decade.

  2. Ernestine,

    Thanks for commenting.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t have a viable long-term business model. Maybe they’re clinging to the ‘real journalism’ idea and hoping to ride it out.

    Journalism has been disaggregated from the old model, and even the old model relied on other money.

    The old model’s been almost dead for awhile now.

    Interesting times, and if you have a viable model, let me know.

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