Richard Howe has a related post on his Blog.
If true, this is not good news.
I found this little item at "Riehl World View" (Hat Tip to Instapundit). The key point is that a financial web site, 24/7 Wall Street, says that the New York Times is likely to disappear in 2009, with the assets going to News Corp (Rupert Murdoch). Here is the gist of it, via Pundita (who may be going into hiatus) to Reihl:
24/7 Wall St. looked at some of the largest and most well-known companies, reviewed their SEC filings if they are public, analyst reports, and media observations about their businesses and picked ten that probably won’t be around at the end of next year.It is just analysis, and not truth. Maybe they read the public statements wrong, or the financial statements are wrong, or some luck will come the way of the NYT.
6) The New York Times (NYT) has to repay $400 million in debt in the first half of 2009. It does not have the money. It plans to mortgage its headquarters, but it is uncertain what that will bring in an uncertain real estate market. The firm’s Boston Globe and regional newspaper operations lose money, so they will be hard to sell. NYT is controlled by the Sulzberger family which has super-majority voting shares. That won’t matter much when the company runs out of money. Another big media operation, perhaps News Corp (NWS) which owns The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, will come in and auction off what it can and keep the flagship New York Times newspaper and NYTimes.com website.
The problem is that if worst comes to worst we will be faced with the lost of the "newspaper of record" for the United States and the home for some very valuable writers, such as William Safire, Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd and David Brooks. The New York Times is not just a newspaper. Founded in 1851, it has become a standard bearer. Its motto, "All the news that's fit to print," is an ideal for all newspapers. The loss of the New York Times would be like West Point closing. Sure, there are other sources of officers, but West Point provides the Army with an ideal that officers from ROTC and OCS can look up to and emulate. All adopt the motto--"Duty, Honor, Country." So it is with the New York Times. "All the News That's Fit to Print."
The Reihl site linked to Ed Driscoll, who had the following episode of "Silicon Graffiti, "The Red Queen's Race." This talks to how media has changed since the 1920s, back when the world was in black and white.
Much as I like the Drudge Report, I know there have to be solid news gathering institutions for Matt Drudge to link to. I worry about them going away. But, I would not put any limits on the Internet just because I couldn't see the future clearly. I have a certain amount of faith in the market place, notwithstanding the current recession.
Regards -- Cliff