The News Site of Record

Ben Thompson has a good column at Stratechery on Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein departing Vox in very different, but very on-personal-brand ways.

Thompson ties in the Vox talent exodus with BuzzFeed’s acquisition last week of HuffPost, which leads him to the following comment regarding BuzzFeed chief Jonah Peretti’s curious claim, in an interview with Peter Kafka at Recode (a Vox sub-site!), that the Times’s paid-subscriber-focused strategy somehow puts them at odds with their longstanding mission to serve as the paper of record:

At the same time, it is worth noting that the New York Times has, contrary to Peretti’s implication, never been a newspaper for the masses. Sure, its subscription model is by default exclusionary, but only being available in printed form, mostly in New York, was far more exclusionary. The point about subscriptions driving a particular point of view is a valid one, but then again, it is not as if BuzzFeed has been shy about its political preferences either. The reality is that the implication of the Internet is that ideas are in abundance, and people will seek out what they already agree with, as opposed to accepting what is delivered to them.

Paid-subscriber focus or no, the New York Times today is far more accessible to far more people, free of charge, than it ever could have been in the pre-web era. The quality of the work the Times publishes will continue, more than ever, to be the foundation upon which its reputation stands. There was a time not so long ago when upstarts, like Peretti, saw the Times as old and slow. Not any more. Well, old, yes, but not slow. Joining forces with HuffPost feels like the stodgy media move of the month.

Monday, 23 November 2020