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A Head Of The Times

A Head Of The TimesTuftsgraduate and New York Times Co. publisher Arthur O. SulzbergerJr. is charged with guiding one of the country's premier mediaproperties into the multimedia age. Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [03.21.05] While The New York Times made its mark asa print publication, the future may be much different for thehistoric newspaper. Amid decreasing subscriptions and ad revenueand a growing focus on web and online news channels, the Times– like many other papers – must find its place inan increasingly digital world. But Tufts graduate and NYTpublisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., isn't worried. The publication'sbright future, he says, is just a click away.

"Withinour lifetimes, the distribution of news and information is goingto shift to broadband," he told Business Week. "Wemust enter the broadband world having mastered the three key skillsets -- print, Internet, and video -- because that's what's goingto ensure the future of this news organization in the years ahead."

But for thepast few years, things have not been easy. Young reporter JaysonBlair was found to have plagiarized or fabricated most of hisstories for the Times, and the scandal resulted in theousting of two top editors. Times reporter Judith Millermay face jail time for refusing to disclose sources in connectionwith an investigation concerning the leaking of a CIA operative'sidentity. The Times has also been losing money, as havemost major newspapers, due to declining ad revenues and subscriptions.

"Theseare tough times, and they've been tough times for a while,"he told the magazine.

The Timeshas also had to address charges that it is a "liberal"newspaper, particularly with regard to coverage of 2004's divisivepresidential campaign.

"Whatwe saw play out in this election was urban vs. suburban-rural,not red state vs. blue state," Sulzberger, who worked asa Times reporter earlier in his career, explained toBusiness Week. "We are from an urban environment;it comes with the territory. We recognize that, and we can't walkaway from it, but neither can we play it politically. I don'tthink we do."

The past fewyears have also heralded significant change at the Times.Sections and coverage have been redesigned and retooled to addressan evolving readership; the newspaper appointed its first ombudsman;and the NYT Co. bought interest in Discovery Times, a digitalcable channel, while expanding its television and documentarybusiness.

"In thelast year, there has been more change in a packed period of timethan I've seen at this paper ever," Sulzberger told BusinessWeek.

The Timesis also increasing its reach as both a national paper, expandingdistribution around the country, and an international media property,through its acquisition of the International Herald Tribune.

"We arenot walking away from New York. But we are growing elsewhere,"Sulzberger told the magazine.

Perhaps mostimportant has been the growth of the online divisions. New YorkTimes Digital (NYTD), which owns as well as,reported $17.3 million in profit in the first half of last year,and NYTD continues to grow at a 30 to 40 percent rate annually,Business Week reported.

Still, theweb's emergence as people's main news source is prompting difficultdecision-making about charging for content.

"It getsto the issue of how comfortable are we training a generation ofreaders to get quality information for free," Sulzbergerexplained to Business Week. "That is troubling."

It is indeeda complex time for New York Times Co., but Sulzberger is confidentthat the best strategy is to continue to evolve while waitingout the storm.

"Thechallenge is to remember that our history is to invest duringtough times. And when those times turn – and they do, inevitably– we will be well-positioned for recovery," he toldBusiness Week.








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