Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's Official: The Times is Killing its Regional Weeklies

Newsday is reporting today that the Times is killing its regional weeklies. I wrote about it on Sphere first, eight days ago, and I still think it's bad news for coverage of environmental issues.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Emily Gertz said...

Bad news, indeed. I can't imagine how they're going to do any serious coverage of...anything, really, if they're going to be aiming the section at the entire suburban readership.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

according to the NYT press release dated April 12, they're not in fact killing their regional sections, but redesigning them.

----The Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester sections will continue to be published as separate sections under their current names.....----


Press Release Source: The New York Times Company

The New York Times to Redesign Its Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester Regional Weeklies
Wednesday April 12, 3:54 pm ET

Sections Will Have Greater Editorial Focus on Common Issues Facing Suburban Readers; Local Coverage To Include Columnists, Restaurant Reviews, Cultural Listings, Opinion Pages and Community News

NEW YORK—(BUSINESS WIRE)—April 12, 2006—The New York Times announced today that beginning on June 4, it will update the layout and content of its Sunday sections for Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester by uniting them with a central cover story of shared interest to suburban readers, while keeping the focus on localized news specific to each community.

"We have upgraded the look and feel of the sections to give our readers the best local coverage, with an increased attention to the broader themes that unite suburban readers," said Constance Rosenblum, editor of the City section, The New York Times.

The redesigned sections will feature topics that are universal to readers who live outside of the city - from buying and maintaining houses, gardens and cars, to school news, area sports and local economic development - while maintaining its focus on community news. neighborhood events and cultural listings.

The Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester sections will continue to be published as separate sections under their current names, with each publication featuring area columnists on the front page and inside the section, local restaurant reviews, event listings and opinion pages unique to the community and the readers it serves. At the same time, suburban readers will also have a weekly section with improved layout and design that will be more appealing to readers.

"The regional weeklies have always been a premier vehicle for suburban advertisers to reach their targeted audience of sophisticated, affluent consumers," said Jyll Holzman, senior vice president of advertising, The New York Times. "These new enhancements will make the products even more engaging to the sections' 1.7 million weekly readers, delivering great results to our advertisers."

Advertising opportunities in the redesigned weeklies will include new adjacencies, zoned advertising and in some cases newly designed page two and three premium positions. Advertisers should contact Marion O'Grady, group director suburban sales offices of The New York Times, at 212-556-1457.

About The New York Times Company

The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT - News), a leading media company with 2005 revenues of $3.4 billion, includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, 15 other daily newspapers, nine network-affiliated television stations, two New York City radio stations and 35 Web sites, including NYTimes.com, Boston.com and About.com. The Company's core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.

This press release can be downloaded from www.nytco.com and www.nytco.com/community.

Contact:

The New York Times Company
Diane McNulty, 212-556-5244
mcnuldc@nytimes.com
or
Pat Eisemann, 212-556-8719
eisemp@nytimes.com

Source: The New York Times Company

10:52 AM  
Blogger Tom Andersen said...

The Times will no longer have four regional sections devoted to Westchester, Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey. It will combine them into one section, tailored to each of those four suburban regions. Cultural listings, columns and restaurant reviews will continue to be local (although I heard that the restaurant critics have been told differently). The news reporting however will not.

Instead of getting stories about Westchester in the Westchester section, we’ll now get stories about issues that the Times deems to be common to suburbia – a "central cover story of shared interest to suburban readers,” as the Times explained it. According to Newsday, Executive Editor Bill Keller said, "it became clear ... that we could not keep trimming the newsroom workforce without looking for ways to trim the workload. In that spirit, we began looking for a way to produce the regional weekly with a smaller staff of editors and lower freelance costs."
‘The redesigned sections will "place greater emphasis on the reasons people choose to live outside this city," which frequently "revolve around their kids, their schools and their homes," the memo said.’

Indeed, the Times will continue to call the sections by their old names. But having worked for a newspaper chain that did exactly the same thing in the 1980s with about 9 local papers – that is, combined them into regional editions while keeping the vestigial names – I can assert with confidence that while the Times might continue to call it the Westchester section, it won’t be the Westchester section.

I should also add that the change might have no affect whatsoever on the number of regional environmental stories – for example, about Long Island Sound – that they publish. Local environmental coverage is sure to suffer though.

1:07 PM  

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