Archive for the ‘newspapers’ Category

Free Media? Russia Investigates Financial Crisis Reporting

November 19, 2008

Prosecutors are launching inquiries across Russia against media reporting on the financial crisis in a bid to stem growing concern about its impact, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“It’s not censorship. We’re just checking how reliable the information is,” a press official from the prosecutor general’s office was quoted as saying.

The official gave the example of unreliable reports about a bankruptcy causing a run on deposits from a bank in the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok.

AFP

File picture shows a vendor arranging newspapers at her stand ... 
File picture shows a vendor arranging newspapers at her stand in Moscow. Prosecutors are launching inquiries across Russia against media reporting on the financial crisis in a bid to stem growing concern about its impact, the Kommersant newspaper reported on Wednesday.(AFP/File)

Regional prosecutors have been ordered to check local media “in connection with measures taken by the Russian government to improve the situation in the financial sector and other sectors of the economy,” Kommersant said.

Investigators in Sverdlovsk, a key industrial region in the Ural mountains, are checking local media for attempts “to destabilise the situation in the region,” a spokeswoman for the local prosecutor’s office was quoted as saying.

“If we establish that the law has been violated, there could be disciplinary measures against the guilty, including criminal punishment,” she said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081119/bs_afp/finance
economyrussiamediacrime_081119081653

Murdoch: Condescension, Complacency, Arrogance Killing TV, Newspapers While Internet Thrives

November 17, 2008

With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of their readers.

By Charles Cooper
CNET News

“My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: it’s not newspapers that might become obsolete. It’s some of the editors, reporters, and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper’s most precious asset: the bond with its readers,” said Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp. He made his remarks as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Australian Broadcast Corporation.

Murdoch to journalists: Shape up or risk extinction.  Credit: Dan Farber

Murdoch, whose company’s holdings also include MySpace and the Wall Street Journal, criticized what he described as a culture of “complacency and condescension” in some newsrooms.

“The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly–and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception.”

The 77-year-old Murdoch, recalling a long career in newspapers that began when his father’s death forced him to take over the Adelaide News in 1952, said the profession has failed to creatively respond to changes wrought by technology.

Read the rest:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10787_3-10098194-60.html

Media Bias Reaches New Low? Or High?

November 11, 2008

With the messiah safe at last, some of the notabilities of press and tube are climbing out of Barack Obama’s  media tank with tales of what’s been going on in there.

By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

It’s an article of media faith that everybody with a press card is incapable of showing bias – with the exception of a few newspapers like this one, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post and, of course, Fox News. Anyone who says otherwise is a vacuous irrelevancy. So when someone strays off the reservation it’s front-page news, even when it’s not on the front page.

Deborah Howell, the ombudsman (a Swedish word her newsroom now defines as “newsroom harpie”) at The Washington Post finally had enough on Sunday and took her newspaper’s best and brightest severely to task for allowing its reporters and editors to climb into that tank. “Readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama,” she wrote. “My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that [readers] are right on both counts.”

Even before Election Day, Harold Evans, once editor of the Times of London and the London Sunday Times, was even blunter, perhaps because as the former editor he no longer has to risk life and limb walking among his former colleagues: “It’s fitting that the cynicism ‘vote early and vote often’ is commonly attributed to Chicago’s Democratic boss, Mayor Richard Daley, who famously voted the graveyards in 1960 to help put John F. Kennedy in the White House. In this 2008 race, it’s the American media that have voted very early and often. They long ago elected the star graduate of Chicago’s Democratic machine, Barack Obama.”

In fact, Reuters, the British news service that most slavishly follows the line of least resistance to bias, isn’t even waiting for the inauguration. Most of the media refers to the new president as “President-elect Obama.” To Reuters, he’s occasionally already “President Obama.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/11/fairer-to-one-than-the-other/

Pakistan press welcome Obama, query anti-terror policy

November 6, 2008

Pakistan‘s English-language press on Thursday applauded Barack Obama‘s US presidential election victory but amid tensions with its “war on terror” ally, questioned his policy on tackling extremism.

From AFP

Front pages of Pakistan's leading newspapers report the ... 
Front pages of Pakistan’s leading newspapers report the victory of US’s first black president Barack Obama, in Islamabad on November 6. Pakistan’s English-language press on Thursday applauded Obama’s US presidential election victory but amid tensions with its “war on terror” ally, questioned his policy on tackling extremism.(AFP/Aamir Qureshi)

Leading dailies here echoed sentiments around the world that Obama’s election opened up possibilities for a new direction in US foreign policy.

But they voiced concern about his support for US missile strikes against suspected Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal border region that have led to strong protests and warnings from Islamabad.

“Here in Pakistan, Mr Obama’s earlier take on the issue of militancy was sometimes seen as short-sighted and belligerent,” Dawn said in an editorial.

“The US certainly cannot go it alone without the support of Pakistan (that is a reality that America must acknowledge publicly if it is an honest broker)”.

The News also noted Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war and recognition that mistakes were made by shifting attentions there after the ouster of the hardline ruling Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001.

But it also said his belligerent tone over US missile strikes “had set alarm bells ringing in Islamabad.”

“Some believe the anticipation of the Obama presidency may have motivated the stepped up military operation in the northern areas,” it said.

“The prospect of a more bullish approach from the new US administration is obviously a disturbing one for the Pakistan leadership.”

The new commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, visited Pakistan this week in a sign that the new administration is looking to refocus its attentions on Afghanistan.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081106/wl_sthasia_afp/usvote
pakistanpress_081106061114

The Meltdown of the American Media

November 5, 2008

More than the economy has melted down. What remains of big media credibility has also liquefied and won’t recover anytime soon, if it ever does.

Don’t take my word for it. The ombudsman for The Washington Post acknowledges that conservatives have a point when they claim an imbalance in coverage of Barack Obama and John McCain.

By Cal Thomas
The Washington Times
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In her Nov. 2 column, Deborah Howell writes, “…it’s true that The Post, as well as much of the national news media, has written more stories and more favorable stories about Barack Obama than John McCain. Editors have their reasons for this, but conservatives are right that they often don’t see their views reflected enough in the news pages.”

What might be “their reasons”? There is only one answer: Too many journalists have been in the tank for Mr. Obama and wanted to see him elected president. Some Post reporters (Ms. Howell doesn’t say how many) “complained to me that suggestions for issues coverage have been turned aside” in favor of horse-race coverage, despite reader complaints about too much coverage of the race itself and not enough of the candidates’ positions on the issues.

Journalism is the only profession I know that ignores the wishes of its consumers. If a department store found that most of its customers preferred over-the-calf socks to ankle-length socks, would that store ignore customer preferences for the longer socks because the president of the company preferred the ankle-length style? Not if the store wanted to make a profit in the sock department. Yet journalists have this attitude: “we know what’s good for you, so shut up and take it.”

Ms. Howell calls this arrogance….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/05/media-meltdown/

Even in Defeat, Media ‘Disrespects’ McCain

November 5, 2008

Even as he stood humbly in defeat, the media that couldn’t get enough of ignoring or belittling John McCain did it again.  The most conservative newspaper in America, The Washington Times, while praising Navy hero John McCain, couldn’t care enough to correctly cite the aircraft carrier upon which he almiost died in a terrible fuel and rocket stoked fire: USS Forrestal.  The Times said it was “USS Forester.”

USS Forrestal: 134 sailors died in a terrible fire which
trapped John McCain; but he escaped

This might be a small thing as the nation rejoices in a history making event, but to a Navy veteran and journalist like me, this is the emblematic end error in a long line of oversights, errors, malignings and just outright not caring from the media toward Mr. McCain.

When the party celebrating Barack Obama’s historic victory clears, and it better be soon as their are many crises on his plate and on the national agenda, we, as a nation, need to take a hard look at media objectivity, honesty and integrity…

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers remarks during an election night rally in Phoenix Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Associated Press.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., delivers remarks during an election night rally in Phoenix Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Associated Press.

Circulation for Newspapers Continues to Decline

October 28, 2008

By ANICK JESDANUN
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NEW YORK (AP) – Circulation at the nation’s daily newspapers is falling faster than anticipated this year as readers continue their migration to the Internet and papers narrow their distribution to cut costs.

The development, which compounds the fiscal challenge of plummeting advertising revenue, was revealed Monday when the Audit Bureau of Circulations released sales totals reported by newspapers for April through September.

Combined weekday circulation of all 507 papers that reported circulation totals this year and last averaged 38,165,848 in the six months ending in September, 4.6 percent below 40,022,356 a year earlier. The aggregate drop was only 2.6 percent in the September 2007 period, compared with September 2006.

Sunday circulation fell faster than daily – 4.8 percent, to 43,631,646 at the 571 papers with comparable totals. A year ago, Sunday circulation fell 3.5 percent.

Daily circulation at 16 of the 25 largest papers fell more than 5 percent in the latest period.

Circulation has been dropping at newspapers for decades, a trend sped up by readers shifting to the Internet. Newspapers also have lost advertising in recent years because of the Internet, and that decline accelerated this summer as the weak economy prompted advertisers to pull back on spending.

To boost revenue, many papers also have increased prices, a move that has caused small circulation drops.

This year’s sharpening circulation drop also appears to result in part from the way papers are responding to losing ad revenue, said Rick Edmonds, media analyst at the journalism think tank Poynter Institute.

“Times are tough, and they are looking at everything that’s in their expense base,” he said. “Building new subscribers is an expensive proposition.”

Consider The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where circulation declined 13.6 percent, the largest drop among the 25 largest papers.

The paper increased prices and reduced its distribution footprint by a third to 49 counties. Some of the counties dropped weren’t even in Georgia and were more expensive to reach, said Bob Eickhoff, the paper’s senior vice president for operations.

Read the rest:
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081027/D94334KG0.html

Media Still Mostly “Liberal Left”

March 19, 2008

By Jennifer Harper
The Washington Times
March 18, 2008

Conservatives remain scarce in the news media landscape.
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Only 6 percent of the national press corps describe themselves as “conservative” in a population that includes reporters, editors and producers from major television and radio networks, daily newspapers, news wires and online sources.

Those who consider themselves “very conservative” amount to just 2 percent, according to a wide-ranging survey of 585 journalists and news executives released yesterday by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
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In contrast, 36 percent of the overall population generally consider themselves conservative.
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There are more conservatives in broadcast than print — 10 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Among online journalists the figure was 8 percent.
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The majority of nationally ranked journalists — 53 percent — described themselves as moderate, 24 percent were liberal and 8 percent “very liberal.”
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The findings have remained “basically flat” since 2004 when a similar survey was taken, said Amy Mitchell, deputy director of the media research group.
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However, the mainstream press might not be quite as elite as it used to be.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080318/NATION/418533987/1002

Vietnam: Tet Offensive 40 Years Ago

February 5, 2008

By Uwe Siemon-Netto

Forty years ago today, I witnessed the start of the most perplexing development in the 20th century – America’s self-betrayal during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam.

The reason why I have never ceased wrestling with this event is this: On the one hand, Tet ended in a clear military victory for the United States and its South Vietnamese allies, who killed 45,000 communist soldiers and destroyed their infrastructure.

On the other hand, the major U.S. media persuaded Americans that Tet was a huge setback for their country. As a result, Tet marked the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, which consequently ended in defeat when South Vietnam fell in 1975.

A parade to mark the 40 the anniversary of theTet Offensive ...
A parade to mark the 40 the anniversary of theTet Offensive is seen in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Friday, Feb. 1, 2008. The Tet offensive of 1968 was a massive attack by the North Vietnamese on Tet, lunar new year, and it was a turning point of the Vietnam War.
(AP Photo)

I was there, as Far East correspondent of the Axel Springer group of German newspapers, Jan. 30, 1968, when 85,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops struck 36 of the South’s 44 provincial capitals.

Two days earlier, a French officer in Laos had tipped me off that something spectacular was about to occur during the cease-fire for Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. “You’d better return to Saigon,” he said.

At 3 a.m. on Jan. 31, I stood opposite the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, watching a fierce firefight between Marines and Viet Cong attackers, some of whom were already inside the Embassy compound.

Some days later, I was in the company of Marines fighting their way into communist-occupied Hué, Vietnam’s former imperial capital, 600 miles north of Saigon. We found its streets strewn with the corpses of hundreds of women, children and old men, all shot execution-style by North Vietnamese invaders.

I made my way to Hué’s university apartments to obtain news about friends of mine, German professors at the medical school. I learned that their names had been on lists containing some 1,800 Hué residents singled out for liquidation.

Six weeks later the bodies of doctors Alois Altekoester, Raimund Discher and Horst-Guenther Krainick and Krainick’s wife, Elisabeth, were found in shallow graves they had been made to dig for themselves.

Then, enormous mass graves of women and children were found. Most had been clubbed to death, some buried alive; you could tell from the beautifully manicured hands of women who had tried to claw out of their burial place.

As we stood at one such site, Washington Post correspondent Peter Braestrup asked an American T.V. cameraman, “Why don’t you film this?” He answered, “I am not here to spread anti-communist propaganda.”

There was a time when Hué was the most anti-American city in South Vietnam, to wit, a graffito outside the villa of the dowager empress, which read, “Chat Dau My” (cut the Americans’ throats). But this changed as a result of Viet Cong atrocities. Now the word “My” (American) was replaced with “Cong” (communists).

Many reporters accompanying U.S. and South Vietnamese forces realized and reported that the fortunes of war and the public mood had changed in their favor, principally because of the war crimes committed by the communists, especially in Hue, where 6,000-10,000 residents were slaughtered.

But the major media gave the Tet story an entirely different spin. CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite, for example, flew briefly into Saigon. When he returned to New York he told his 22 million nightly viewers:

“It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who have lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”

In other words, Cronkite said, “Oops, we lost,” when, in truth, the biggest engagement in this war was militarily won. Two decades on, I was a chaplain intern in a VA hospital working with former Vietnam combatants. They were broken men. Most had been called baby killers on their return home. Their wives or girlfriends, and in some cases even pastors, had abandoned them.

Many had attempted suicide or withdrawn into the wilderness.

And almost all thought that their country, even God, had turned their backs on them. There was a time when I loved my craft as a reporter passionately. Vietnam changed this. It taught me the appalling consequence of journalistic hubris, which gave the media, meaning all of us, an enduring bad name.

Uwe Siemon-Netto is a guest lecturer in Lutheran theology at Concordia University in Irvine, California.

Internet Death For “Print” Newspapers?

November 6, 2007

By Robert MacMillan
November 5, 2007

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Circulation fell at many U.S. newspapers in the six months to September, according to statistics released on Monday that for the first time include Internet readership in a bid by publishers to boost their attractiveness to advertisers.

Average daily paid circulation for newspapers printed Monday through Friday fell 2.6 percent and Sunday circulation fell 3.5 percent for the six-month period that ended September 30, 2007, compared with the year before, according to publishers’ statistics released by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

In the top 25 markets, average daily paid circulation fell 2.4 percent, while Sunday circulation fell 4.6 percent.

The declines come as readers move online, but they also stem from publishers’ efforts to cut discounted copies from their subscription rolls, said a spokeswoman for the Newspaper Association of America.

Some papers, particularly in California and Florida, are dealing with the weak housing market, while others face their own regional trends, such as in Michigan where papers have cut jobs as they serve markets hurt by the slumping auto industry.

Most big city dailies reported that average daily paid print circulation fell. Dow Jones & Company Inc said daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal, including paid subscriptions to its Web site, dropped 1.5 percent, while The New York Times fell 4.5 percent.

The New York Daily News and New York Post reported circulation declines, with the Post down 5.2 percent and the Daily News down 1.7 percent.

Advertisers long have considered print circulation key to determining where they spend their dollars, but publishers hope the Web numbers will provide a better picture of the true reach of newspapers.

“We generally agree that we can now truly gauge the impact of newspapers across the variety of media platforms that they truly represent,” said Dave Walker, chief executive of Newspaper Services of America, which buys ad space in papers.

Gannett Co Inc reported a 1 percent rise in daily paid circulation at USA Today, while the Philadelphia Inquirer said circulation rose 2.3 percent.

The Washington Post reported a 3.23 percent drop, while the Chicago Tribune fell 2.9 percent. Its parent company Tribune Co said circulation fell at Long Island, New York’s Newsday, but rose 0.5 percent at the Los Angeles Times.

The new data includes the number of people estimated to read a paper, not just how many papers were sold.

Many also are reporting usage of their Web sites, as well as a figure that tries to count print and Web site use without counting people twice who use both.

Gannett’s Asbury Park Press in New Jersey has average daily print circulation of 144,072. But it claims more than 650,000 print readers, more than 850,000 unique Web users and some 832,000 people, without counting people who read both editions more than once.

It is hard to say if advertisers will buy the new numbers.

Alan Mutter, a former newspaper editor who writes a blog on newspaper and media issues called Reflections of a Newsosaur, said many newspaper Web site visitors to not remain long enough to make them worthwhile for advertisers.

“I think it’s certainly valuable in the sense that advertisers have something they can count on and make reasonable judgments about,” he said. “The question is, are they going to like the numbers they see?”

Edward Montes, managing director for Havas’s online media buying arm Media Contacts, said online-only ad buying at local papers has never been very effective.

“The increase in the data points allows us to more accurately project and measure, and make sure we’re spending our client’s money effectively,” said Montes, whose clients include Sears Holding Corp, Fidelity Investments and Goodyear Tires. “They’re saying print is declining, but oh, by the way, our online properties are increasing, but I don’t think it will change the buying dynamic significantly.”

(Editing by Maureen Bavdek/Tim Dobbyn)

Related:

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Blockbuster Video: Headed For Extinction?

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New York Times Publisher: Managing Transition From Print to Internet

By Eytan Avriel
Haaretz (Israel)
February 8, 2007

Despite his personal fortune and impressive lineage, Arthur Sulzberger, owner, chairman and publisher of the most respected newspaper in the world, is a stressed man. Why would the man behind the New York Times be stressed?

Well, profits from the paper have been declining for four years, and the Times company’s market cap has been shrinking, too. Its share lags far behind the benchmark, and just last week, the group Sulzberger leads admitted suffering a $570 million loss because of write offs and losses at the Boston Globe. As if that weren’t enough, his personal bank, Morgan Stanley, recently set out on a campaign that could cost the man control over the paper.

All this may explain why Sulzberger does not talk with the press. But perhaps the rarified alpine air at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, which ended last week, relaxes the CEOs of the world’s leading companies. And what began as a casual chat ended in a fascinating glimpse into Sulzberger’s world, and how he sees the future of the news business.

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. Asked if local papers have a future, Sulzberger points out that the New York Times is not a local paper, but rather a national one based in New York that enjoys more readers from outside, than within, the city.

Classifieds have long been a major source of income to the press, but the business is moving to the Internet. Sulzberger agrees, but what papers lose, Web sites gain. Media groups can develop their online advertising business, he explains. Also, because Internet advertising doesn’t involve paper, ink and distribution, companies can earn the same amount of money even if it receives less advertising revenue.

Really?

What about the costs of development and computerization? “These costs aren’t anywhere near what print costs,” Sulzberger says. “The last time we made a major investment in print, it cost no less than $1 billion. Site development costs don’t grow to that magnitude.”

The New York Times recently merged its print and online news desks. Did it go smoothly, or were there ruffled feathers? Which team is leading the way today? “You know what a newspaper’s news desk is like? It’s like the emergency room at a hospital, or an office in the military. Both organizations are very goal-oriented, and both are very hard to change,” Sulzberger says. Once change begins, it happens quickly, so the transition was difficult, he says.

“But once the journalists grasped the concept, they flipped and embraced it, and supported the move.” That included veteran managers, too. How are you preparing for changes to the paper that are dictated by the Internet? “We live in the Internet world. We have, for example, five people working in a special development unit whose only job is to initiate and develop things related to the electronic world – Internet, cellular, whatever comes.

The average age of readers of the New York Times print edition is 42, Sulzberger says, and that hasn’t changed in 10 years. The average age of readers of its Internet edition is 37, which shows that the group is also managing to recruit young readers for both the printed version and Web site. Also, the Times signed a deal with Microsoft to distribute the paper through a software program called Times Reader, Sulzberger says. The software enables users to conveniently read the paper on screens, mainly laptops.

“I very much believe that the experience of reading a paper can be transfered to these new devices.” Will it be free? No, Sulzberger says. If you want to read the New York Times online, you will have to pay. In the age of bloggers, what is the future of online newspapers and the profession in general?

There are millions of bloggers out there, and if the Times forgets who and what they are, it will lose the war, and rightly so, according to Sulzberger.

“We are curators, curators of news. People don’t click onto the New York Times to read blogs. They want reliable news that they can trust,” he says. “We aren’t ignoring what’s happening. We understand that the newspaper is not the focal point of city life as it was 10 years ago. “Once upon a time, people had to read the paper to find out what was going on in theater. Today there are hundreds of forums and sites with that information,” he says. “But the paper can integrate material from bloggers and external writers. We need to be part of that community and to have dialogue with the online world.”

And while on community, the scandal about Jayson Blair, the reporter caught plagiarizing and fabricating, hurt the brand, not the business, he says. Blair was forced to quit in May 2003. You’re one of the few papers that continues to print on broadsheet, which people consider to be too big and clumsy. Until when? “Until when? The New York Times has no intention of changing that,” Sulzberger promises. At any rate, transitioning from broadsheet to tabloid would be prohibitively expensive, he says.

Do you feel that the newspaper world is weakening? Are advertisers pressing harder for better deals? “Advertisers always press harder for better deals and influence over content,” Sulzberger says. But the New York Times has nothing to apologize for and no reason to fold, “as long as I’m sure that what we wrote and what we’re about to write is right.”

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Blockbuster Video: Headed For Extinction?