Saving The New York Times From Oblivion
Our core mission remains producing the world's best journalism. But with the endless upheaval in technology, reader habits and the entire business model, The Times need to pursue smart new strategies for growing our audience. The urgency is only growing because digital media is getting more crowded, better funded and far more innovative.
It should be stated explicitly that there is no single transformational idea in this report.
Here are two transformational ideas from a Times reader of 60 years.
1. The New York Times Print Edition
If the Times wants to "to pursue smart new strategies for growing our audience," the editors, writers and designers damn well better start talking to younger readers.
This is 2014. Communications coins of the realm are:
• The 140-character tweet: Twitter has 645 million registered users worldwide.
• The 160-character text:
Allison Miller, 14, sends and receives 27,000 texts in a month, her fingers clicking at a blistering pace as she carries on as many as seven text conversations at a time. She texts between classes, at the moment soccer practice ends, while being driven to and from school and, often, while studying. Most of the exchanges are little more than quick greetings, but they can get more in-depth, like "if someone tells you about a drama going on with someone," Allison said. "I can text one person while talking on the phone to someone else." —Matt Richtel, The New York Times
The brains of these young tweeters and texters have been rewired. They can absorb information only in small bites.
"The addictive nature of Web browsing can leave you with an attention span of nine seconds," wrote Dr. Ted Selker of the MIT Media Lab, "the same as a goldfish."
Texters, tweeters, Internet surfers, YouTubers, couch potatoes and game players absolutely cannot deal with the copy-heavy 19th-century design model used throughout The New York Times.