Sulzberger speaks

I’m at the Online News Association and New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzburger is giving the keynote. Before he starts, he suddenly turns around and pats an imaginary head and says, “Judy.” Silence in the room. “A very small joke,” he says. Later, he briefly addresses Judy Miller and starts saying by: “We fully support… supported… Judy.” Slip?

ORJ asks whether he thinks that “failing to fire Judy Miller” has hurt the credibility of The Times. Sulzberger reponds: “No, I don’t…. There is no question there has been an effect on the way that people are viewing us because of this Judy Miller situation… What is important here is that we have tried, we are certainly trying to own up to that. The story is not over….” In response to another question, he says that “while your reporter is in jail, there are constraints. Well, our reporter is no longer in jail and those constraints are off.” I’m not sure what that means. I think he’s talking about coverage, not personnel m atters.

I’m not blogging the speech; it’s a packaged speech and they usually put these up online.

One note on blogging. He says that though many blogs make great contributions, “We have to be aware of what we are getting…. Some take journalistic protocols seriously. Most wouldn’t have a clue…” Oof.

Asked whether he was concerned taking the columnists out of the conversation with TimesSelect, he said: “Information does not in fact yearn to be free. Opinion — quality opinion — does not yearn to be free.”

Asked whether Google is a friend or foe, he violates the gag rule on Google Zeitgeist and says that when Don Graham of the Washington Post took to a panel, he thanked Google for inviting old-media guys “like Arthur” and for doing this on the very day they announced they were going after classifieds.

See my full disclosure here.

  • Jeff, if you find a link to Sulzberger’s speech, would you put it up? Thanks.

  • Should Judy withdraw her name from contention? After all, it’s a burden to the Big Folks …..

  • Hey, Jeff, are you the only one blogging at ONA?

  • Rafat

    Hey Jenny, et al
    The audio is up on our site:

  • NavyspyII

    He does make a good point about blogs in general. Many doe take the time to vet their info as best as they can, but many others run amok with rumor, and innuendo just like our current Mass Media outlets.

    In general, the 48-hour rule is in force. Information needs to be corroborated by a 2nd independant source within 48 hours for me to have any confidence in it. The difficult part is in finding a 2nd truly independant source, as many sites seem to feed on the same source material.

    On the other hand, with the various scandals at the major news outlets (exploding gas tanks, the Rather TANG memo’s, John Kerry’s military history…etc) are uncorroborated blogs any more inaccurate than Big Media is?

    However, there are gems out here. It is up to the individual to identify those that he/she feels to be trustworthy, though. Just like everything else in life, there is no free admission.

  • Jorge

    Mr Sulzberger will not be able to escape his Ms Miller Operation.They are in the Plame Affair up to their vocal chords. Anyone else involved in this treson should come clean and turn some sort of states evidence. They could save their own skins and become a hero.

  • dfrisme

    Information may or may not yearn to be free, but certainly people who wish to help shape opinion would like their contributions to be linked to.

    I seldom read NYTimes material unless its linked to by an aggregator that I trust or find interesting. Having to read every NYTimes opinion column everyday would be far too dreary to be endured… Since they rolled behind the costwall, I find that I’m finding almost no links to their columns anymore.

    Besides, 50 bucks a year is way too much. 10 bucks, maybe, but I would still have trouble finding linkage to the columns I might be interested in.

  • Information does not in fact yearn to be free. Opinion — quality opinion — does not yearn to be free.

    So information or opinion that is free cannot be considered quality information or quality opinion because people didn’t pay for it.

    Does the NY Times earn more revenue from TimesSelect subscriptions than it generates from online ads on those pages it allows people to access for free? If the answer to that is yes, then I could understand the NY Times charging for their content since it is, after all, a business. And if enough people online are willing to pay for it, great; it’s not like it costs them much to host it.

    Since however, they only charge for a portion of their content – their opinion rather than their reporting (though where the line is here I don’t know since most of what the NY Times reports is, in my opinion, their opinion rather than objective representation of the facts) – it looks to me that it is primarily a way of making that portion of it, their opinion, seem valuable. After all, if you paid for it, it must be valuable.

    I think this could work if there really wasn’t any quality opinion available online for free. Unfortunately for the NY Times, it is available. Takes a little digging maybe, but it’s there, and it’s only going to get more prevalent and a lot easier to find.

    The NYTimes charging primarily for access to their op-ed columnists suggests they would like to own the top end of the opinion market. I don’t think they have the goods to carry this off. Wanting to believe you are the elite is going to be a poor substitute for being left on the sidelines.

  • A couple of points.

    I live in Oregon – raised in NYC. I do my daily dose of the NYT. But, pay for the columnists…..uh, sorry.

    But, the BIG point. Google Classifieds. Do you think that the Times (and other dailies) is funded by Dowd? “Its the classifieds stupid.” Jeff knows this. This is a potentially more important story than Miller.

  • pj

    Why should the Times react to Judy Miller different than a dozen other slanted articles they have posted over the last week. Getting the facts right is not their priority. Skewing the news to fit their political vision is.

    Common knowledge.

  • ravo

    “Why should the Times react to Judy Miller different than a dozen other slanted articles they have posted over the last week. Getting the facts right is not their priority. Skewing the news to fit their political vision is.

    Common knowledge.”

    YUP, no matter the subject…..

    “No doubt many of the Times’ readers do have “dark visions” of global warming, but that seems to be due more to the newspaper’s consistent skewing and omission of facts over the last decade rather than the facts themselves.”