New York Times editorial management saw fit to run an article in which its reporters savaged the operations and management of its sometimes rival, The Washington Post. The Post is no longer part of a public company. It is puzzling why the Times believed its readers would be substantially interested in a media company based in Washington. Yet, the critique ran as the lead business story on the front page of The New York Times.
Perhaps the story was a means of showing that, while the Times continues to do well, the Post has hit some hurdles. Once again, this begs the question why Times’ readers would care. It seems that The New York Times business desk ran out of other subjects during a period when the markets are unstable, inflation is a major problem and a recession may start soon or is already underway.
How important is the story about The Washington Post? More important than a story about the future of electric vehicle batteries and more important than the problems German companies have with a drop in national gas supplies, based on where the story about the Post ran in the Times.
24/7 Wall St. editors have literally no connection to either The New York Times or The Washington Post, nor do we care what happened to either paper, financially or otherwise. We also have no ties to Post owner Jeff Bezos.
It is extremely odd that, in a story about the struggles of The Washington Post business operations, publisher and CEO Fred Ryan is called out for his bumbling management. (The Times neglected to mention that its operating profits in the most recent quarter dropped 29.5% to $51.7 million).
The Times reported on several problems at the Post. The first is that because Donald Trump is no longer on the front page every day, subscription growth has faltered. The Post is not alone in this category. Other news outlets, including CNN, have stumbled for the same reason.
Much of the criticism of Ryan is that he shares some traits with Captain Queeg, the commander of the U.S.S. Caine in The Caine Mutiny. Queeg spends most of the book (and film) looking for some stolen strawberries. The Times article has a long description of how Ryan has tried to discover which editorial employees actually come to the office. According to the story: “Last fall, he asked for the company’s chief information officer to pull records on which days employees held videoconference meetings, as a way to judge production levels, and found that fewer meetings occurred on Fridays.” In addition to being incompetent, he is a spy.
It took two reporters to research and write the Times story about the Post. That is a great deal of effort to determine how a newspaper in Washington is managed.
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