Good news, the New York Times had a higher profit in 2015 than it did in 2014. That extra profit did not come from an increase in revenue as digital finally offset the momentous decline in print — how great would that be??? — but from the Times’ now-longstanding source of profit-making: cutting costs faster than revenue falls. Here’s a chart of the last ten years of Times annual revenues against total operating costs and operating profits:
Even with lofty goals like $800 million in digital revenue by 2020, the Times is already preparing the newsroom for more severe cuts, with the announcement of a top-to-bottom sweep of the newsroom in search of “further areas for cost reductions,” led by executive editor Dean Baquet and Upshot editor David Leonhardt:
“The simple fact is that to secure economic success and the viability of our journalism in the long term, the company has to look for judicious savings everywhere, and that includes the newsroom,” Mr. Baquet said. … “Instead of cuts and additions without a clear picture of where we are headed, we want to approach the task thoughtfully, with our mission and values clearly in mind. Everything we do must either be part of that mission or help generate the revenue to sustain our journalistic dominance.”
(Here’s a link to the full memo, in which Baquet also says, “time to catch our breath and come up with a shared vision for what our report, and ultimately the New York Times newsroom, should look like in the coming years.”) Between this and Conde Nast and Hearst spinning off their print services into an easily disposable joint venture, sounds like 2016 is off to a great start for print media!!!
Photo by Jessica Sheridan