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NY Times Has 1,700 Obituaries for ‘Pre-Dead’

NYtimes buildingAnyone interested in morbid news will appreciate The New York Times pulling back the curtain on its obituaries desk.

According to Margalit Fox, the Times currently has about 1,700 obits for “pre-dead” people on file, ranging from a few hundred words (if you were boring) to more than 10 thousand (if you were rich).

Unsurprisingly, Fox writes that one of the most uncomfortable aspects of preparing obits is interviewing people who the Times deems close to death:

One of the most stressful aspects of reporting an advance entails, when feasible, telephoning its pre-dead subject for an interview. This is one of the stranger social predicaments in human experience and, trust me, there is nothing in Emily Post to cover it. The midcentury Timesman Alden Whitman, an obituary writer famous for sitting down with his subjects in advance, favored tender circumlocutions on the order of, “We’re updating your biographical file” and “This is for possible future use.” I have used both with a fair margin of success.

Another approach we’d suggest: “Hi, this is Margalit Fox with the New York Times. You’re probably about to croak. Any comment?”

Capital New York Talks to Guardian US EIC

GD*26913990Just ahead of beginning her new duties as Guardian US editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner chatted with Joe Pompeo for the September issue of Capital magazine.

The British newspaper’s stateside plans include an imminently larger New York office, the addition of a Silicon Valley bureau and some other close-to-the-vest tactics. In fact, Pompeo had to reach out to a senior colleague of Viner’s – via a lofty European vacation perch – to get a tiny bit more of the skinny:

Viner wouldn’t get into the nuts and bolts, telling me she didn’t want to publicize them in an article before having discussions with staff. She did however say that Guardian US is “in a period of ambitious growth, and we are working on a number of serious plans.”

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Celebrates Second Place

EconomistIULogoThree years ago, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette heralded the findings a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit with the headline “Move Over, Honolulu…” At that time, the home of the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins had statistically bested the land of leis, luaus and Higgins.

The IU news is not quite as good this time around. But when the winner is Honolulu, it’s still cause for a PA-t on the back:

Pittsburgh has racked up yet another accolade, with the designation as the “most livable city” in the continental U.S., according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 livability survey.

Only Honolulu outperformed Pittsburgh among U.S. cities in the study, which measured “which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions.”

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NY Times Refuses to Endorse Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo GThe New York Times doesn’t care for either candidate in next month’s Democratic primary. The Times’ editorial board explained that it wasn’t endorsing a candidate because Andrew Cuomo hadn’t done enough to stop corruption, and his rival, Zephyr Teachout, doesn’t have the experience required.

As for Cuomo, the Times said that his first campaign promise was to “clean up Albany,” and he failed miserably:

Mr. Cuomo became governor on that platform and recorded several impressive achievements, but he failed to perform Job 1. The state government remains as subservient to big money as ever, and Mr. Cuomo resisted and even shut down opportunities to fix it. Because he broke his most important promise, we have decided not to make an endorsement for the Democratic primary on Sept. 9.

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NY Times Revamps Crossword Feature

One way the New York Times can attract new customers is by tempting people (well, at least the smarter ones) with a revamped Crossword feature. Recently the Times announced a free, mini crossword app for iOs devices. Now it is looking for people to pay up with an update to New York Times Crossword.

The new Crossword has a fresh, clean look and comes with “play anywhere” capabilities, meaning if you start a puzzle on your phone, you can complete it on your computer or iPad. Or tell your friends you finished it even though you didn’t (Hint: a three letter word for automobile is “car”). There’s also an archive of 18 years of puzzles to drive you mad.

New York Times Crossword is available for $39.99 per year or $6.99 per month. New subscribers and digital subscribers to the Times get it for about half that price.

NY Times Digital Subcription Growth Slows

NYtimes buildingThe New York Times’ paywall is now three years old. For most of that time, digital subscriptions grew at a healthy pace. However, according to Recode, there are signs that things are slowing down.

In June, the Times reported that it had added 32,000 digital subscriptions during the second quarter, bringing its total to about 831,000. That’s a solid number.

Unless, of course, those new subscribers were lured by new apps like NYT Now, and the Times has already hit its subscriber ceiling:

There could be some cannibalization from the new app, of course, but even if all 32,000 were for the main digital subscription (which costs $15 to $35 depending on how many devices you want to use), that would still fall short of the previous two quarters when the Times averaged 36,000 new subscribers.

If the Times has truly tapped every customer who will pay for its content, there could be rough waters ahead. As with any print product, the execs at the paper will need to figure out new revenue streams to avoid getting shipwrecked.

Daily Mail Aims to Resolve ‘Madison Avenue Challenge’

Right now, the U.S. Daily Mail home page resides at dailymail.co.uk/ushome and the paper’s Internet presence as a whole is universally referred to as MailOnline. But not for much longer.

DailyMailDotComTeaser

As newly appointed North American CEO Jon Steinberg explained to Ad Age‘s Michael Sebastian, by Thanksgiving, the UK paper should have a new stateside (and overall) shingle:

One year from now, he hopes to have solved MailOnline’s “Madison Avenue challenge,” which he blamed partly on brand confusion around the Daily Mail‘s digital presence being MailOnline. By the middle of the fourth quarter, MailOnline will migrate to DailyMail.com, according to Mr. Steinberg. ”I want confusion around the brand fixed,” he said.

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NY Times Reporter Ordered to Leave Afghanistan

Mohammad Ishaq Aloko, the attorney general of Afghanistan, is not pleased with New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg. Aloko ordered Rosenberg out of Afghanistan and banned him from returning to country after Rosenberg’s article about its elections ran in yesterday’s Times.

Rosenberg’s piece made the case that high-ranking Afghan government officials were essentially considering forming a coup. That didn’t sit well with Aloko, who claimed Rosenberg’s work was an “article that is considered divisive and contrary to the national interest, security and stability of Afghanistan.”

“The Attorney General decided that Matthew Rosenberg should leave the country within the next 24 hours and he will not be allowed to re-enter the country,” continued the letter.

Despite Aloko’s demands, Rosenberg reamins unfazed:

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NY Post: Women Should ‘Deal With’ Catcalls

NY Post Logo 10-14The New York Post isn’t satire, is it? Just wanted to be sure, because a piece titled “Hey Ladies — Catcalls are Flattering, Deal With It” was just published, and it’s so awful it must be a joke.

Doree Lewak, a features writer for the Post, simply loves to be sexually harassed by men. She cannot get enough. “When I know I’m looking good, I brazenly walk past a construction site, anticipating that whistle and ‘Hey, mama!’ catcall,” writes Lewak. “Works every time — my ego and I can’t fit through the door!” Uh…

Lewak goes on to explain that being belittled by strangers makes her a feminist:

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All the Competition News That’s Fit to Recall

newyorktimes-logoThe answer to this great trivia question is: D.M. Redfield. He’s the New Haven, Connecticut reader whose proposed new motto for the New York Times was declared the winner back in 1896.

Wisely, in the end, the NYT decided to stick with “All the news that’s fit to print.” From Adrienne LaFrance‘s item for The Altantic about the paper’s $100 tagline-our-paper competition:

The Times wrote that it had received entries from nearly every state in the union — there were 45 of them in 1896 — and signaled out entries from women. Many contestants “wholly ignored the request for a motto or phrase of only ten words of less,” the Times wrote. Some of the other ideas that readers sent:

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