Big news, but little surprise in New York Times‘ plan to sell ’The Boston Globe'

Front page of 'The Boston Globe.' ()
Tweet Share on Facebook Share on Tumblr Print

The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.

Bloomberg reporters Edmund Lee and Jeffrey McCracken reported late this afternoon that The New York Times Company is exploring a sale of its New England regional newspaper group, which controls The Boston Globe.

It's big news, and Bloomberg was saying that Times Company stocks were going up after it broke.

Moments later, the Times Company issued a memo to employees (Politico's Dylan Byers has the whole thing here) and posted a press release announcing the news. It reads, in part:

MORE ON CAPITAL

ADVERTISEMENT

"Our plan to sell the New England Media Group demonstrates our commitment to concentrate our strategic focus and investment on The New York Times brand and its journalism,” said Mark Thompson, president and CEO of The New York Times Company. “The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette are outstanding newspapers and they and their related digital properties are well-managed leaders in their markets with real opportunities for future development. We are very proud of our association with the Globe and the Telegram & Gazette, but given the differences between these businesses and The New York Times, we believe that a sale is in the best long-term interests of these properties and the employees who work for them as well as in the best interests of our shareholders.”

Earlier this month, the Times Company reported a jump in profit for the fourth quarter of 2012, largely based on the company's 13 months of shedding assets acquired as the company grew under chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.

About a year ago, at the company's annual off-site meeting for executives (which this year took place on the 15th floor of the New York Times building) management introduced an initiative called "Invest in the Core," which morphed over the following weeks into "Invest in the Times." Back in August, we reported on it:

Spearheaded by Times Company chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the goal of the program, which until recently had been called "Invest in the Core," is to extend the reach of the Times brand by increasing investment in four areas—mobile, video, social engagement, and new global markets—with resources made available partially by the sale of other properties. Various proposals for new projects in these four main areas have been presented to the company's board of directors, according to people familiar with the plans. Depending on which ones move forward, dozens upon dozens of new employees could be hired to work on "major initiatives" at the Times, sources said.

The idea of the program was to focus on four key areas, and to expand the mothership brand of The New York Times into each of them. The four areas were mobile, video, social engagement and global markets.

The company would consolidate its efforts and resources into advancing the Times brand in those four areas, while shedding properties that didn't fit the definition of the "core," including its classical music station, its stake in the Boston Red Sox, and About.com, and most of its regional newspapers; when the dust settled, its last remaining regional newspaper group in New England, which controls The Boston Globe, looked conspicuous.

Last last year, The Globe lost its editor-in-chief, Martin Baron, to The Washington Post.

We'll keep following the story as it develops.

On Capital....

'Times' editor Jill Abramson opens up about layoffs, the time she almost quit, and loneliness at the top

In other news...

Brian Stelter on Robin Roberts' return to "Good Morning America." [NYT/Media Decoder]

Keach Hagey takes a deep dive into the Playboy empire. [The Wall Street Journal]

Raju Narisetti talks Wall Street Journal digital. [journalism.co.uk]

Clarification on The New York Times' supposed young-people product. [NYULocal]

Andrew Sullivan talks about his new blog venture. [NYT/Media Decoder]

Conde Nast and Hearst are "duking it out" in the hispanic market. [New York Post]

Dow Jones boss Lex Fenwick is now on Twitter. [Talking Biz News]

Quote of the day...

I don't get to complain anymore. It's just true. Some of the most delicious time that you spend as a journalist is like, complaining. At no times have I had fewer actual friends to gossip with, and kind of complain with, or at least commiserate with. That is a hard part of being the boss. Newsrooms are just full of cantankerous complaining people. It's so enjoyable to be part of that.

Jill Abramson

On Twitter...

On TV...

Here are some clips from Robin Roberts' first moments back on air this morning:

From our inbox...

Narratively is out of beta mode:

What do a master clock-maker, gritty 1970s subway photographs, and the gentrification of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, all have in common? For one, they have each found a home at Narratively, a highly buzzed about platform devoted to original, true, and in-depth local stories. Five months after its launch, Narratively is thrilled to announce the relaunch of its website, a new multimedia platform for shorter content, and its expansion beyond New York City. The public is invited to celebrate Narratively's continued progress at a raucous, story-fueled party in DUMBO, Brooklyn this Wednesday, February 20th. The party is also the first event in Narratively’s live series.

The new Narratively design places a premium on readability, ease of use, aesthetics, and engagement—a marriage of form and function befitting its one-theme-a-week, one-story-a-day publishing model. The website, completely responsive and customized for Narratively through a partnership with content pubishing platform Marquee, maintains a clean feel while incorporating rich functionality and captivating layouts that allow Narratively’s stories to take on a life of their own.

This week, Narratively also unveiled Narratively Shorts, to feature smaller stories, series, author reflections, and reader responses. And on Friday, Narratively will debut its first story from outside New York City in an effort to reinforce its vision that every place has untold stories worth telling. The expansion begins with a “Narratively Upstate” piece about a massive and misunderstood music festival in Schenectady County, New York.

For additional information about the event, relaunch or platform expansion, or to schedule an interview, email Rachel Howard at rhoward@narrative.ly. And please join Narratively from 7-9 pm on Wednesday, February 20th, at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, for an evening of burlesque, live multimedia storytelling, and free beer, wine, tea, and cookies.