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02 Dec 2011 21:14


Culture: RIP Louis Silverstein, the guy who gave The New York Times its shine

  • An unsung journalistic hero: Before Louis Silverstein, newspaper design was a trade, not a profession. With the many changes he made as art director of the Times in the 1960s and 1970s, he helped change that. White space? More ambitious typefaces? Larger fonts? Abstract illustrations? Those were all his doing. Many of the conventions that modern newspapers now take advantage of came (in part) from Silverstein’s work. It took a lot of pushing, but Silverstein sold editors on these ideas. As a result, the Gray Lady is (and many other papers are) a lot less gray. And graphic design and news aren’t separate entities. Silverstein died Thursday at 92. (Also worth a read:The Society for News Design has a lot of anecdotes about an important figure in visual journalism.) source

27 Sep 2011 10:13


U.S.: NYT indirectly calls Occupy Wall Street protesters stupid

  • So even as the members of Occupy Wall Street seem unorganized and, at times, uninformed, their continued presence creates a vexing problem for the Police Department.
  • New York Times writer Joseph Goldstein • In an article about the NYPD’s seemingly poor handling of Occupy Wall Street. The article as a whole makes intelligent and understandable points (and goes in-depth about the use of pepper spray on Saturday), but this particular line really bothered us. This comes off as The New York Times ripping the dirty hippies for being dirty hippies, which is just an approach they should not take here. It’s condescending and shows a lack of respect for the protesters. What if they just dropped a line like that into an article about the Tea Party? It’d get savaged by the blogs! Instead of just interviewing your sources at the NYPD, Mr. Goldstein, why don’t you interview the protesters (who, we don’t know if you’ve noticed, have been clamoring for media attention), instead of discretely calling them idiots? You did it before, with this article. This piece feels like you’re writing an article about one side of the story. source

06 Sep 2011 10:49


Tech: Have a problem with Google’s service? Contact The New York Times.

  • closed In what’s proven to be a fairly sketchy marketing tactic, some users of Google Places have taken to marking places run by their competitors as “closed,” causing much frustration among business owners who rely on that to let people know that they’re still open.
  • open In the past, Google has taken a hands-off approach to the issue, which has rankled business owners. In fact, it took a New York Times article for the company to take the situation seriously. You know, pretty much like this particular situation. source

01 Sep 2011 21:48


Politics: New York Times: Obama’s scheduling fight with Boehner embarrassing

  • The contemptuous reaction from the House speaker, John Boehner, to the president’s request to address a joint session next Wednesday — the day Congress returns from its summer recess — was appalling. No matter how he feels about Mr. Obama personally or politically, there can be no excuse for his lack of respect for the office, to which he is second in the line of succession. And it was distressing to watch President Obama fail, once again, to stand up to an opposition that won’t brook the smallest compromise.
  • The New York Times Editorial Board • In a piece titled “Oh, Grow Up,” on the infighting between Obama and Boehner over the timing of the president’s speech on jobs. To put it simply, we’re with them. Especially on this particular point: “Worse, the vital importance of the speech — and the need for Congress to take its full responsibility for creating jobs and reviving the economy — was upstaged by yet another Washington soap opera.” God, it’s like Washington breaks a little more with each passing day. source

05 Jun 2011 11:06


Politics: Herman Cain fawns over himself in the third person

  • That’s what I think connects with people, Herman being Herman. And you notice, Herman enjoys life — I can smile, I can have a sense of humor, I’m being Herman.
  • Herman Cain • Speaking about himself in first-person and third-person in the same sentence as part of a fawning New York Times piece on his rise as a 2012 GOP candidate. The crux of the piece: His voter recognition is still low, but the Republicans who know him absolutely adore him. He’s a dark-horse candidate, kids — the Howard Dean of this election cycle. Speaking of Howard Dean, did you hear this crap he said about Sarah Palin having a chance at beating Obama? *facepalm*  source

24 May 2011 13:12


Culture: Good read of the day: NY Times’ ‘Coming Out’ interactive feature

  • Spend a few hours with this package, guys. The Times wrote three stories for the piece, but the readers submitted 32 of their own equally moving stories. It makes for a very powerful package — in a time where not every corner of society accepts homosexuality, the Times has stepped up to tell some of the stories that need to be told the most — from that of a young Christian girl, to another about a high school ROTC student. It’s a moving read that sends a positive message, too, one we’re all familiar with: It gets better. source

18 May 2011 19:05


Tech: NYT’s Nick Bilton, Bill Keller get into it over Twitter

  • Could Twitter make me stupid? Absolutely. If I only followed funny cats that speak with poor grammar, I’d be on my way to a vapid state of mind in no time. But I don’t. I follow dozens of news outlets and writers; I follow chefs, neuroscientists and the president of the United States; and of course, I follow Mr. Keller.
  • NYT blogger Nick Bilton • Publicly taking his boss, Bill Keller, to task about his Twitter-bashing column earlier today, where he suggested allowing his daughter to use Facebook was like giving her crystal meth. Keller got a chance to respond in an update at the end of Bilton’s piece, where he tried to clarify what he was going for (as well as jokingly threatening to fire his talented blogger). “If Facebook is displacing real friendship, if Twitter is diminishing actual conversation,” he says, “then maybe that’s a good reason to limit how much of your life they consume.” You know, here’s the funny thing about Facebook and Twitter: For the people in your social circle, you can turn the service off and contact many of the people you’re talking to on Facebook and Twitter in the flesh. And the people you can’t, you can reach via the service. These services don’t take away from our knowledge. They expand our reach, as long as they’re not used to excess (a point both Bilton and Keller agree on). Bill just doesn’t explain this point very well at all. source

03 May 2011 23:27


Biz: Newspaper pulse check: Why one paper’s circulation skyrocketed

  • The newspaper is doing OK right now. Not great, just OK. In the past six months, that gray newsprint behemoth did OK, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation, with the top two papers gaining some ground and most of the top five staying roughly in the same order. However, the way that the group analyzed the data changed this time around — deciding, instead of focusing just on paid circulation, to emphasize “average circulation,” which includes separate editions under the umbrella of a certain brand. The numbers caused one paper to rocket into the top five and one to fall out. See if you can guess by the numbers below:
  • 2.1 million daily circulation for the top-ranked Wall Street Journal
  • 1.8 million average daily circulation for the still-second-place USA Today
  • 916,911 average daily circulation for the freshly-paywalled New York Times
  • 605k average daily circulation for the Los Angeles Times
  • 577k average daily circulation for the San Jose Mercury News
  • 550k average daily circulation for the Washington Post source
  • » A few things of note: If you guessed that the San Jose Mercury News benefited greatly from the change in data, you’re correct — MediaNews treats each newspaper on this page as an “edition” of the Mercury News (which seems a little number-inflating). Other notes: This data covers the daily circulation for the past six months — a period which only includes a tiny bit of the New York Times’ post-paywall circulation (so come back in six months to see if it was a success). But e-editions are doing quite well, especially for the Wall Street Journal and Detroit Free Press. One last thing: The numbers only cover paid newspapers, not free ones. (photo by Brent D. Payne)

21 Apr 2011 14:23


Biz: Running the NYT paywall has higher cost than you might expect

  • $13 million to run the New York Times paywall in 2011 source
  • » This is a hefty figure. And it’s not the whole enchilada — the Times spent a lot getting it together, on top of the incremental costs involved. But it doesn’t necessarily spell problems for the new system — the Times has netted about 100,000 digital subscribers since instituting the paywall, reportedly enough to break even on the operating costs after the first quarter of 2011. That said, we suspect not many casual observers expected this high a cost would be absorbed simply to keep up the paywall, and having the spoils of your first 100,000 subscribers be a financial wash is something we doubt the Times relishes. But we think people need to give this time.

13 Apr 2011 20:47


U.S.: If you read any 6,000-word article on sugar today, let it be this one

The New York Times Magazine has a freaking massive piece on whether or not sugar is toxic. Want the answer? Well, you’re gonna have to read it, sweetheart. source