With reference to the recently leaked NYT memo
May 26, 2014 10:50 AM   Subscribe

First thought while reading first link, having skipped the intro text: "This journalist's take on the NYT's admittedly checkered history with digital is so hilariously, off-the-planet partisan that it's almost as if he were an investor in the company he's presenting as the Times's polar opposite!"

*gets to the end, reads footnote*


(Thank goodness there are some limited signs of optimism for the continued survival of outlets where such conflicts of interest are frowned upon…)
posted by oliverburkeman at 11:40 AM on May 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

This article is comparing the South African equivalent to Time Warner with the New York Times. This is comparing apples to a farmer's market.
posted by zabuni at 12:07 PM on May 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

zabuni, naspers was one single city newspaper, die burgher
posted by infini at 12:18 PM on May 26, 2014

How's die burger doing though? What's the state of journalism in South Africa? Not that the NYT has exemplified ethical journalism entirely, but at least they're trying--and it's a noble pursuit separate and distinct from "surviving as a company".
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:31 PM on May 26, 2014

They hit a dart with a board when they bought 35% of tencent 14 years ago.

That's worth 50 bil USD at market. Naspers current market cap is 47bil and they don't substantially have any debt.

I mean there is flaw in that logic but it sould give you a sense for how much the value of the business comes from one bet that paid off and lots that didn't.

Put another way what if the times has bought Facebook in '05 instead of about.com? This Muppet would be writing a similar hagiography.

Really the story is the cashflow from cable allowed them to make the web investments. The nyt never really had that.
posted by JPD at 1:25 PM on May 26, 2014 [5 favorites]

Locally people refer to Naspers as Tencent SA Holdings. Naspers value is so tied up with Tencent that it now dwarfs the value of all it's local enterprises. If Tencent were to ever take a tumble the shine would wear off real quick though.
posted by PenDevil at 1:28 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

The biznews.com article (fpp, on the outside) links to a buzzfeed column with an interesting quote

>> Upworthy’s former head of promotion, Michael Wertheim, turned down a job at Times, the report says.
> “For anyone in that role to succeed, the newsroom had to be fully committed to working with the business
> side,” Wertheim told the report’s authors.

Ever since good US newspapers emerged from yellow journalism and the Luce era they have been fanatical about keeping Upstairs and Downstairs separate. That is, keeping the newsroom fully independent and the business side in its place, which was firmly away from any influence on editorial content and The News. It was a wall of separation considerably stronger and higher than the one that's supposed to separate Church and State. Even not-good newspapers felt obliged to pretend they had such a wall even when they did not.

If Wertheim is right (I sadly expect he is) the NYT (and the other papers which are or aspire to be like it) have a choice between keeping the separation and slowly or not slowly going out of business, in which case there's no more NYT. Or tearing the wall down and letting the business/circulation/advertising side call the editorial shots--the jfuller infallible magic 8 ball says it will not the other way around, not in any known universe--in which case there's no more NYT.
posted by jfuller at 2:09 PM on May 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

jfuller, that's why I posted this, but I suspect I made teh wrong link the FPP. because buzzfeed
posted by infini at 2:24 PM on May 26, 2014

NYT digital revenues, and the share of print subscriptions which are really just digital subs where you get the weekend hard copy thrown in for free, are more than enough to support a very nice global newsgathering organization. Eventually the NYT may need to focus a bit, perhaps losing sports to the wires and the police blotter to the Post and Daily News, but the core DC + foreign bureaux + biz + SWPL lifestyle & arts editorial budgets are all well covered.
posted by MattD at 2:32 PM on May 26, 2014

More here on the leaked memo at Niemanlabs. They pull some excerpts for those who don't want to read the whole thing.
posted by euphorb at 7:59 PM on May 26, 2014

I thought "Die, Burger" was the name of Bruce Willis' new movie.
posted by carping demon at 10:00 PM on May 26, 2014

(It's something like The Citizen, so in that respect, a Jamie Foxx movie.)
posted by dhartung at 11:26 PM on May 26, 2014

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