I just listened to an NPR Morning Edition interview with Bill Keller about the future of journalism. Keller told NPR that the Times’ brand identity, to use a marketing term, but that the failure of newspapers in general has dragged the Times’ economic outlook down with it, by association.
Keller still things the Times is strong, and he’s clear when he says that good journalism isn’t free. A nonprofit paper or a small operation isn’t likely to set up bureaus in major cities around the world, for example. The Times, with all of its money (perhaps less now that the operation is operating in the red), can do things like that.
Keller also pointed out something else about the way the news has changed in the Internet age. It used to be, he said, that a major story in the Times would set the agenda for other news outlets for a week. Now that cycle is more like 36 hours. I, for one, never paid attention to what was in the New York Times, certainly not in any way that would have directed or guided my reporting. Maybe I should have. But, then again, I was never very serious about reporting when I was doing it. Just like with my writing teaching career, I had to get away from it to become serious about it.