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Bill Keller Responds to Vanity Fair‘s ‘Bombast’

bill_keller-1.jpgBill Keller is not such a fan of Mark Bowden’s Vanity Fair write-around profile on Arthur Sulzberger Jr. His letter in full below (via Romenesko):

To the Editor
Vanity Fair

If you strip away the bombast, the recycled anecdotes and the mistakes an elementary fact-checking should have caught (“1300 reporters” is off by about 800), you are left with Mark Bowden’s attempt at an original thesis. His thesis is this: Arthur Sulzberger believes that “journalism pays.” He actually believes that its value is not only civic, but commercial. Ho, ho. How naive of him. Journalism doesn’t pay.

*Update* Mark Bowden responds in the comments section.


Last year readers paid The New York Times more than $600 million to buy our newspaper. In a world of declining everything, our circulation revenue has gone up. That’s people paying good money for good journalism. And it buys us time to answer the existential question of our business, which is how we assure that journalism continues to pay. I’ll bet on Arthur Sulzberger finding the answer to that question before Mark Bowden does.

Bill Keller
The New York Times

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