Monday, October 11, 2010

Stunner. At 7:00 AM Today, NYT Announced That It Has Officially Run Out Of Ideas.

In a stunning announcement, the NYT has disclosed to its readers that it has officially run out of ideas.

As of this morning at precisely 7:00 a.m., the NYT's "Idea Of The Day" blog -- launched in 2008 and maintained by its Week In Review staff -- told its readers that it was being discontinued.

Under the headline, "This Blog's Final Post," the editors declared that it was going out of business, and gave this reason:

"The blog’s end is a result of limited resources in a medium where any number of worthy projects are possible," the editors wrote, "and where new priorities continually emerge." A BP publicity spokesman couldn't have parsed it any better.

On a five-day-a-week schedule since its launch, the "Idea of the Day" blog culled controversial recent articles and essays from other websites, and gave them prominence and spin for NYT readers.

But perhaps the blog was slipping slightly; one sign of creaky old age came just last Wednesday, when the blog inadvertently posted a five-year-old article about New York architecture in Vanity Fair.

"The blog's primary focus is recent articles," a correction on the blog explained.

The NYT's blogs have gotten increased attention from the company's management in recent months. The addition of Nate Silver's "Five Thirty Eight" blog about political trends, and the move of education reporter Jacques Steinberg to "The Choice" clearly demonstrates the NYT's increased dependence on the blogs for visibility and, eventually, income.

Our candidate for the next cut from the blog roster: "Executive Suite," subtitled "Joe Nocera Talks Business," which was last updated eleven months ago. Dude, you've stopped talking and we've stopped checking!


wjdecker said...

By running out of ideas, has the NYT improved its ability to deliver shareholder value? Is this a trend just in the publishing business, or the newest management fad among public companies?

Anonymous said...

Does Professor Thompson see a cultural signpost here? Where is Jennifer 8. Lee when we need her?

Anonymous said...

I'll have to use this space to comment on your tweet of a little while ago...

Is there any better example of the difference between the narcissistic Political Class and the Country Class than Brian Stelter's very public bragging this morning that he has reached his 1,000th byline in the paper? Creating bylined articles is his job. They are not individual achievements. They are not achievements collectively. They are his production in trade for a paycheck, and nothing more.

It's somewhere between disturbing and disgusting that he is even keeping track of the number, much less that anyone is putting him up on a pedestal for doing nothing other than not getting fired.

These people truly do live in a completely distorted world. I look forward to the day it no longer exists.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone gotten around to evaluating the NY Times blogs collectively? It seems that there are a couple really good ones and a bunch that are just, really, totally inferior, but the Times doesn't get rid of them because, well, I guess because "name" reporters are associated with a few of them. Or because everyone's scared to death that if the blogs fail to stay, it might require going back to traditional reporting, you know, work rather than just typing opinions all day long and calling it reporting.

Anonymous said...

Robert J. Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, said the deletion of the blog was indicative of "cognitive exhaustion."

"The demand to continually appear fresh and innovative can eventually becoming overwhelming," Thompson said. He acknowledged that this observation was obvious and banal but explained that he was late for class and that this was the best he could do. "I'm cognitively exhausted myself, but hey, I got a job to do."

Ken Cady said...

Apparently the nytpicker has also run out of ideas. Nothing since October 11th, even the Joe Nocera story conflict.

Anonymous said...

My favorite Simpsons image: ''Homer's grandfather smashing atoms by hand with a hammer for Burns's grandfather, illustrating the concept of class conflict. Fox carries the show as part of its pro-business propaganda strategy, as it suggests that even an obese incompetent can continue to work in a high-risk environment and support a stay-at-home spouse and two children in suburban comfort. Is this a great country or what?''


Robert Thompson is an American professor of pop culture at
Syracuse University in upstate New York, and when tech reporters need
a quote, they all make
a concerted beeline to his email address. Over the past 20 years,
quote-hungry New York Times reporters have called on Bob some 78 times
for 150
separate stories. That's quote heaven, as far as the news biz goes.

In the most recent Thompson appearance in the Gray Lady, Times
reporter Helene Stapinski asked Dr Thompson if he could support her
agenda -- er, thesis -- that more Americans now consume ''spaghetti
tacos'' than ever before.

What did the learned professor have to say on this, and with a
technology spin no less?

To quote the quote maven: "Spaghetti tacos has made it possible to eat
spaghetti in your car. It's a very important technological
development. You don’t even need a plate."

Bob really said that. The Times really printed it.

There's more quotes from the quote-meister inside the Times. In very
recent memory -- and we're talking internet time, mind you -- Thompson
has been quoted in four television-related Times stories, one
advertising column, a sports story and a host of pieces by a pair of
regularly "Thompson-dependent" reporters at the Times.

So who is Bob Thompson and why does his name appear in print in over
1000 AP and Reuters stories archived online? Google him.

He'll give you a good quote, too.