The New York Times Digital division “gets it” in a major way. DealBook was the first evidence of this. Then reporter blogs. Then external blogs (Freakonomics). Then reader comments. Then reader comments on the front page (yes, obviously just an experiment, but even that’s good news). And, today, a new technology site that aggregates not only New York Times’ content but un-affiliated third-party content (including, we hope ours).
True, a zillion sites do this, but few have the brand, clout, and existing traffic of the NYT. The site is powered by BlogRunner, an NYT-owned feed aggregator with human editors, and it will allow the Times to begin to take advantage of the aggregation leverage that has allowed companies like HuffingtonPost, Drudge Report, and others to steal a surprising amount of web traffic and media thunder. It will also set an example for what all newspaper sites must do if they are to have any chance of surviving.
The New York Times Company as a whole is still in trouble, because the fat profits of the print business are going away and digital revenue isn’t growing fast enough to replace them. But this should in no way undermine the impressively rapid evolution of NYTimes.com.