Finally had a chance to read through yesterday’s bug NYT “shock” memo, and I think I managed to find the buried lede:
Also a central issue is “a cadre of editors who remain unfamiliar with the web.”
“Many desks lack editors who even know how to evaluate digital work,” the report says. (The copy obtained by BuzzFeed, which is missing five pages, can be read in full below this story.)
The report also details technical weaknesses in the paper’s backend: The lack of an organized system of tags to organize stories’ metadata, and the fact that it took “manual labor” for reporter Libby Rosenthal to obtain the email addresses of readers interested in a series she’d written.
And it says the paper is unwilling to kill new digital features, like its international home page and “Scoop” app, that simply aren’t working.
This isn’t the kind of problem the paper can fix simply by firing the person at the top. If that excerpt is accurate, then middle management is mostly of cruft — but ditching all that middle management can be the kind of morale-killing move that can kill a business faster instead of slower. Or it could be like ripping the bandaid off all at once, and preventing the wound from festering.
NYT has had 15-20 years to get digital right, and they’re still acting like a change at the top and a new mission statement will get the job done.
The dinosaur is staring at that big rock falling from the sky while the little mammals run for cover.