the New York Times, not for partisanship, but for swallowing up the International Herald Tribune. Somehow this leads into a discussion about McDonald's, Southern California shopping malls, hyper-capitalism, and the ravenous hunger for all things local. Got it?

Posted by at January 25, 2003 09:51 AM
Comments

Great column.

One quibble. You mention "indefinable voodoo that made the Herald Tribune work"... but should have said "that made the Herald Tribune work editorially." I love the paper too; the paper was uniquely good thanks to its editing. It digested the best of the Times and the Post and the LATimes wire, choosing stories, chopping fat and adding local color, AND layered in 30% additional content from its own stringers, correspondents and columnists. This medley of inputs made the paper far more interesting than the pure NYTimes.

As a former freelancer for the IHT, I'm obviously biased. But I know that we "locals" often kicked the pants off many of the folks the Times shuffles around the globe to mop up foreign news. Editors at the IHT published news that didn't make it through the haze in New York but was still important and fascinating when viewed from a European vantage point. Case in point: I wrote about mismanaged US-government-funded investment funds in the IHT (and provoked a Congressional investigation) YEARS before the Times grappled with the story.

The NYTimes execs eventually will learn that the uncut NYTimes copy has little appeal to the backpacker in Thailand or the expat lounging in a Budapest cafe.

But... despite record-high circulation, the IHT was losing what insider sources say was nearly $10 million a year. Sure, when the buyout was announced both parents mumbled something about losing "$5 million a year," but quoting a per-parent half-figure was likely embarrassment-saving window dressing. Unfortunately for expats everywhere, the advertisers who underwrote the IHT in recent years, cell phone operators and airlines, are both technically insolvent themselves.

As yesterday's industries crumble, tomorrow's expats will have to make their own news with $150 laptops, WiFi, blogs and digicams.

Posted by: henry at January 26, 2003 05:19 AM
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