Is New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger brave?
Is it brave to employ 11 people to moderate the comments on the New York Times (NYT) web site? Is it brave to take a crushing loan from a Mexican Billionaire in lieu of layoffs?
Atlantic Magazine says yes!
It’s releasing its first annual list of brave thinkers in November.
Like any list worth its salt, it’s already leading to some barroom Internet debates over the lunacy of some of its choices.
At the top of the list of controversial selections is Arthur Sulzberger, who seems to be on the list because of his brave decision to waste the New York Times capital by operating inefficiently.
Here’s their explanation of the Sulzberger pick:
The Times employs 11 people to moderate online comments, more than twice the number of reporters on the masthead at The Huffington Post. One might mistake such quality control for timidity, or for an anachronistic journalistic indulgence. But even as Sulzberger has aggressively led The Times onto the Web, he is betting that his paper’s dedication to high-quality journalism is its most valuable asset, however costly it now seems. He has resisted deep newsroom cuts even as the company’s stock has collapsed, and he has risked alienating the younger generation of Sulzbergers, who may sell their premium shares (and the voting rights they confer) to the highest bidders. Such a sale could lead to ruin: one need only browse a recent edition of the Los Angeles Times or the Chicago Tribune to see what happens when putatively savvy capitalists insist on slashing news budgets to increase profit margins.
Note: For the record, HuffPo, has 8 reporters, and 21 moderators.
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