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Hard Times at the Times

Hard Times at the Times
The New York Times newsroom, April 15, 2015. L-R: New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. (holding up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the newspaper), Assistant Managing Editor Susan Chira, Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal (obscured by Chira) and Executive Editor Jill Abramson.

Thursday, 25 April 2013 01:21 PM

Times are tough it seems at The New York Times.

The newspaper was hit with a double dose of bad news this week. It suffered a decline in its first-quarter income and was jolted by an unflattering profile of its executive editor Jill Abramson.

The New York Times Company said Thursday that in the first three months of 2013, its net income was $3.1 million, or 2 cents a share, down from $42.1 million, or 28 cents a share, in the period a year earlier.

In addition, income from continuing operations had pulled back to $3.1 million from $8.7 million a year earlier, the company said.

Meanwhile, total revenue from the first-quarter declined 2 percent to $465.9 million, with the company’s ad revenue declining 11.2 percent to $191.2 million, down from $215.5 million.

Times executives, however, insisted they are optimistic about the future, noting that circulation revenue grew by 6.5 percent as the company continued to beef up its digital subscription platform.

Times CEO Mark Thompson said “other strategic initiatives designed to further leverage The Times brand and newsroom’’ will be rolled out.

But there are more problems than just revenue at the Grey Lady, as “Turbulence at The Times,’’ a scathing article published by Politico this week, reveals.

The Politico story said Abramson, the Times' hard-charging newsroom leader, has become “a source of widespread frustration and anxiety within the Times newsroom.’’

“More than a dozen current and former members of the editorial staff, all of whom spoke to POLITICO on the condition of anonymity, described her as stubborn and condescending, saying they found her difficult to work with,’’ the article reads.

Some newspaper bloggers have criticized the article, calling it sexist and noting that if Abramson was a man, her work habits would likely be described in a more positive way.

In the Politico piece by Dylan Byers, Times Managing Editor Dean Baquet says: “I think there’s a really easy caricature that some people have bought into, of the bitchy woman character and the guy who is sort of calmer. That, I think, is a little bit of an unfair caricature.”

Interestingly, the article begins with a fight Baquet has with Abramson over the paper’s news coverage. It ends with him marching out of her office, slamming his hand into a wall and storming out of the newsroom.

“I feel bad about that,” Baquet told Politico. “The newsroom doesn’t need to see one of its leaders have a tantrum.”

But newsrooms are well known for being explosive places, where reporters and editors knock heads and curse at each other.

Still, the Politico article with its anonymous Times staffer quotes, has roiled the newsroom and is the talk of journalism circles, particularly since it comes on the heels of the newspaper winning four Pulitzer Prizes this year.

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The New York Times was hit with a double dose of bad news this week: a decline in its first-quarter income and an unflattering profile of its executive editor Jill Abramson.
Thursday, 25 April 2013 01:21 PM
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