NYT editor started reading 'mostly digital news' 3 weeks ago. Contemplating cellular phone next.

Posted by andreaitis on October 20, 2009

The headline caught my eye:  Bill Keller trying to read the Times “mostly in digital forms”.

Aged news.  That’s my first thought.  I mean, The Daily Show’s Jason Jones took New York Times Executive Editor Bill  Keller d-o-w-n when TDS invaded the NYT newsroom.

“Trying.”   That’s my second thought.  He’s trying to read the New York Times in digital form? I mean, how hard can it be?

Poorly written headline.  That’s my third thought.  I must be misreading that headline.  On to the story:

John Temple, former publisher of the defunct Rocky Mountain News, suggested in July that newspaper editors spend time exclusively reading news on the web, but Keller (and Times managing editor Jill Abramson) are the first I know who have tried it. I emailed Keller to see how the experiment is going, and he obliged with some observations on comprehensiveness, serendipity, and the “balky and drab” experience of reading the Times on a Kindle:

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller

It’s been about three weeks of consuming my NYT (and competition) mostly in digital forms: desktop (the website proper), TimesReader (on a notebook), iPhone and Kindle. In truth, I cheat some on weekends. I love print, and while this experience is making me appreciate more the versatility and creativity of our web staff, nothing has yet made me love print less.

via Bill Keller trying to read the Times “mostly in digital forms” » Nieman Journalism Lab

Brain overload:

1.  Yes, headline is correct.  He’s trying to read news in digital form…

2.  …for three weeks?  THREE weeks???

3.  Someone had to suggest he do this?!?!?

Love print all you want, Mr. Keller.  I love it, too.  Doesn’t mean I’m clinging to it on the cold hard streets outside the unemployment office which I can’t get into because there’s a long line ahead of other people who loved – and lost – print.   What’s that expression about loving something so much you have to set it free, and if it comes back it’s meant to be?

It’s not coming back, Mr. Keller.   Consider these three weeks your printervention.


8 Responses to “NYT editor started reading 'mostly digital news' 3 weeks ago. Contemplating cellular phone next.”

  1. So, ya’ think there’s a buyout available for NYT staffers who just don’t get it?

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by andreaitis and Nancy Miller, Stephen Phildor. Stephen Phildor said: andreaitis – – NYT editor started reading 'mostly … […]

  3. I suspect he might love print a little less if he had to pay for his copy of the Times… while getting the digital version for free… like us common folk. It seems to me this transition is often motivated by such practicalities, not by wonder or experimentation, and the difficulty of the transition can be more about how hard it is for an individual to change habits than about the nature of the media. But people who get their paper and ink newspapers for free sometimes turn their observations about their habits into general statements about the media.

  4. andreaitis said

    Wouldn’t you be embarrassed to admit you’ve just started using or experimenting with digital news? He’s a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. A very good newsroom manager, judging by the email he sent out to the NYT staff about their upcoming layoffs. Has what is probably still a highly enviable position in the news industry. How can he be so comfortably behind the (digital) times? I seriously want to understand how that’s possible.

    • That is an extremely interesting question and maybe the question of our generation: how could people who are clearly so smart and gifted lack vision? Last year, Alan Greenspan sat before Congress and publicly admitted that his vision of the economy turned out to be flat out wrong. The consequences have been devastating. How could that have happened? The moral of the story for me is that credentials rarely translate into vision; I suspect arrogance clouds it.

  5. andreaitis said

    The irony is that the NYT, in my opinion, has been forward-thinking in its digital approach. They’re trying to smartly embrace the future. The New York Times API is a good example of that. Perhaps I should admire Keller’s honesty. Once I get past bafflement and shock.

    • Agreed. The site has some very good features that others would do well to emulate. But Keller’s comments indicate that he is not part of the forward-thinking digerati. The comment says to me that he is stuck in an old-world vision — there’s news and then there’s everything else. So my next question would be was he honest or simply clueless?

  6. […] suggests it may follow a model Chicago has rejected. There’s plenty of evidence Times brass isn’t very astute lately, but this isn’t an iPhone they’re trying to build. It’s a […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: