What the Rest of Us Can Glean from the New York Times Innovation Report

The journalism world was all atwitter about the NYT Innovation Report.

The journalism world was all atwitter about the NYT Innovation Report.

When the New York Times sneezes, the rest of us in journalism and publishing frantically analyze all those droplets of germy spittle in hopes diagnosing the cause. Is it a cold, an allergic reaction, an affliction giving a few industry watchers perverse pleasure, or some as-of-yet, unheard of malady sickening the Gray Lady? Accordingly, we self-appointed Fourth Estate diagnosticians heeded the call last week when we caught wind of a leaked internal document titled “The New York Times Innovation Report.” Released immediately after the dismissal of the Times’ first female editor, Jill Abramson, the report rolled out under a microscope already looking for a source of the distemper. The eyes of the world were keenly focused on the august institution, and the document—the stated mission of which was to accelerate the Times’ “transition from a newspaper that also produces a rich and impressive digital report to a digital publication that also produces a rich and impressive newspaper”—went viral. But beyond the petty schadenfreude and voyeuristic glee that some have derived from the trouble at the Times, what can the rest of us glean from this report? First, to help us understand what the report says about the industry in general, let’s put the Times’ recent performance in context. Second, we’ll summarize the report’s recommendations, and how the strategy and tactics discussed therein apply to the rest of us in journalism in general and content marketing in particular.

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