Earlier, we noted Arthur Sulzberger is taking proactive steps to get the New York Times (NYT) on track.
The reason? He knows the business is going to be toast unless he fixes it.
He says it’s like the Titanic. Sure it could have pulled into the NY Harbor without hitting an iceberg, but it was always doomed, because the Wright Brothers were going to build aeroplanes a few years later anyway.
Here’s the full wonderful metaphor he spun for NY Mag explaining the predicament:
He thinks that physical newspapers will stick around as well. “The best analogy I can think of is — have you ever heard of the Titanic Fallacy?” he asked. We hadn’t. “What was the critical flaw to the Titanic?” We tried to answer: Poor construction? Not enough life boats? Crashing into stuff? “A captain trying to set a world speed record through an iceberg field?” he said, shaking his head. “Even if the Titanic came in safely to New York Harbor, it was still doomed,” he said. “Twelve years earlier, two brothers invented the aeroplane.”
OK, so let us get this straight. The publisher of the New York Times is saying that getting into print journalism is like getting on the Titanic?
“We are trying to convert shipping companies to aeroplane companies,” said Sulzberger. “Same business: transporting people safely across long distances. Different cost structure, different way of doing business, but the same core business. There is still a very vibrant business in shipping. It’s just not taking masses of people across the Atlantic. It’s now taking families around the Seychelles, or something like that. There will still be passenger ships, but they’re not going to be in the same business. So print will still be here, I believe, decades from now. But will it be the driving force? No.”