January 2009 Archives

Times are coming, Times have gone, but what of the New York Times?

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There's been many wonderings over the daily newspaper business and the fact of whether or not it will be around for our children to read. "End Times" by Michael Hirshorn gives a rather bleak, but true rundown of the recent problems concerning one of, if not the, most notable newspaper in the United States: The New York Times.

Estimates of the Times surviving in print condition by the year 2010 are slim. Newspapers nation wide are experiencing troubles expressly due to the loss of circulation and rising website-type journalism. "Earnings reports released by the New York Times Company in October indicate that drastic measures will have to be taken over the next five months or the paper will default on some $400million in debt." Henry Blodget, owner of Silicon Alley Insider, who has been in charge of the "smartest ongoing analysis of the company's travails" so far has left little room for dreams of holding the print edition of the New York Times in the near future.

Online media has thrived since it waltzed onto the stage front and certainly does not look as if it will be leaving any time soon. Perhaps the New York Times will be able to survive by ceasing to actually print its news, instead putting it online. When reading Hirshorn's article it's easy to think that journalism as we know it (or knew it) will recede into the depths of time and history. That's probably true to an extent, but if successful, journalism will continue to evolve like the living thing that it is and rise to the challenge of online journalism.

In reply to Hirshorn's article, The Times released "End Times: A Response." This letter defends against Hirshorn's previous life expectancy of the New York Times, but opens with a remark directly aimed at the journalistic practices that it is said to uphold. At the end of the day, everyone needs to earn enough money to keep them afloat and the Times' letter presents their current financial situation. The economy is stated as one of the significant factors in relation to the Times present finances.

Newspapers all over the country are looking for better and more successful ways in which to breathe life into their companies. Minnesota's largest newspaper, the Star Tribune, recently just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If this truly is the time when printed news will go the way of the dinosaurs, then we can at least be sure that journalism's "flagship," the New York Times, will not go down alone.

It can only be hoped that hard news journalism will continue in the future. Print can die, but news will persevere so long as there are individuals who care about the quality of journalism. As Michael Hirshorn wrote, "Ultimately, the death of The New YorkTimes—or at least its print edition—would be a sentimental moment, and a severe blow to American journalism. But a disaster? In the long run, maybe not."