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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Hirschorn’

Andrew Rossi on How The New York Times Sets The Public Agenda

In Page One: Inside The New York Times, filmmaker Andrew Rossi followed reporters David Carr, Tim Arango and Brian Stelter for one year as they covered the changing media landscape.

However, it’s The Atlantic‘s Michael Hirschorn who makes arguably one of the film’s most profound statements: The New York Times dictates our national conversation… but no one knows it.  (We see you, trendy grandparent names.)

“There’s not like a digital bar code that’s attached to the original information,” Rossi explained in our @mediabeat interview, “and so you see that information kind of filtering out into so many different platforms, which is wonderful. That’s one of the beauties of this sort of social media connected world we live in. However, it’s important for people to realize that a lot of that information does come originally from a story in the Times.”

Watch the full video for more details on Rossi’s filmmaking process and to learn why he “didn’t necessarily have an agenda” for shooting.

You can also view this interview on YouTube.

Part 1: Andrew Rossi Goes Inside The New York Times
Part 3: Page One‘s Andrew Rossi On Getting Your Film To Sundance

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Gawker and New York Times Writers Get Together for ‘Page One’ Screening Party

Gawker Media and Magnolia Pictures plan to hold a private screening of “Page One,” the documentary on the New York Times, Adweek reports. The screening will be on the rooftop of Gawker’s Manhattan office, and will be followed by a panel featuring the filmmaker Andrew Rossi, as well as The Atlantic’s Michael Hirschorn, Gizmodo’s Brian Lam, and the two stars of the film: Times media writers David Carr and Brian Stelter.

What’s curious about this crowd is that Gawker, along with The Huffington Post and WikiLeaks, is portrayed in the film as a threat to the Times, particularly with regard to Gawker head Nick Denton‘s page view obsession. And the same goes for The Atlantic‘s Hirshhorn: his essay “End Times: Can America’s paper of record survive the death of newsprint? Can journalism?” is also featured in the film.

Glad all of these major media factions could put their differences aside and come together for what is sure to be a fascinating panel on the state of journalism. Too bad Julian Assange and Arianna Huffington aren’t making appearances as well. FishbowlNY editors have likewise not been asked to appear, but we’re sure that’s just a temporary oversight on their part.

Atlantic Editor On Pay Walls: “Can’t Afford To Be Ideological”


Last night The Atlantic hosted a discussion titled “Money, Media, and the Future of HBO” with network co-president Richard Plepler and the magazine’s Jeffrey Goldberg. Also on hand were Michael Hirschorn, Stephen Colvin of The Daily Beast, and Senator Michael Bennet.

Plepler discussed the success of HBOGo, which allows subscribers to view their favorite episodes of Entourage or True Blood from any computer, and eventually on portable devices like the iPad or Blackberry. The theme of the evening seemed to be, “Piracy will always be an issue, but people will always pay for quality.”

Looking to expand this theory to print publications, FishbowlNY talked to Atlantic editor James Bennet. The magazine was one of the earliest users of a pay wall on its Web site, but like The New York Times, it eventually took it down in 2008 to allow readers to view the content for free. Now that the Times is planning on charging again, would Bennet’s magazine follow suit?

“It’s an idea we’re constantly revisiting,” Bennet told us. “But we can’t afford to be ideological about it. The New York Times‘ announcement does not affect our decision at all.” The magazine has no current plans to reinstate a pay system, he added.

When asked how The Atlantic plans to monetize in new media, Bennet pointed to The Atlantic Fiction For Kindle, created exclusively for the e-reader, which provides a series of never-before-published fiction for $3.99 a month. This is one of the few genuinely novel ideas we’ve heard about in terms of regulating content. Since it’s virtually impossible to copy and disseminate (unless you feel like all that retyping), and since it’s an original product (unlike news, which users can get from a variety of sources), it may be one of the few types of word-based media people will still shell out money for.

Previously: So What Do You Do James Bennet, Editor of The Atlantic?, The Atlantic Tears Down Their Paywall

Arthur & Janet Explain NYT‘s $1B Debt In Memo To Staffers

times logo.pngYesterday, New York Times staffers received a memo in their e-mail inboxes from publisher Arthur Sulzberger and CEO Janet Robinson. The memo is the second in a promised series that will keep the Times‘s internal workings more transparent for its staff.

In light of yesterday’s announcement that the Times had sold classical music station WQXR as part of a $45 million deal, the memo focused on the paper’s debt situation. The money from the WQXR deal will go towards paying down the $1 billion in debt that the New York Times Co. is currently carrying, the memo said.

“Going forward, we plan to use the proceeds from divestitures, such as WQXR and the potential sale of our interest in the Boston Red Sox, to bring our debt level down even more,” Sulzberger and Robinson said. “This is what we did in 2007 when we sold our Broadcast Media Group.”

The memo also outlined the details of a recent $250 million loan from two of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim‘s banks, including Slim’s possible role in the company moving forward.

“He has not asked for nor been offered a Board seat and does not have a history of activism in the companies in which he invests,” the memo explained. “This transaction in no way changes the control of the Company since that continues to reside in the Class B shares held by the Ochs-Sulzberger Trust.”

In their first memo of this kind to staff last month, Sulzberger and Robinson talked about the Boston Globe and reminded everyone that The Atlantic‘s Michael Hirschorn had predicted that the paper would be dead by May.

A copy of the memo, obtained by, is after the jump.

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NYT Reminds World That Hirschorn Said It’d Be Dead By May

toldyou.jpgNew York Times Co. chairman Arthur Sulzberger and CEO Janet Robinson have put out a memo celebrating The New York Times‘ survival until June — despite the grim predictions of The Atlantic‘s Michael Hirschorn last year.

“The month of May came and went and, contrary to the prediction of one writer, we did not stop printing The New York Times,” the memo read. “But given all the speculation and incorrect information that has been reported about our Company, we think it is important to create a regular letter written so that you get the facts directly from us — on the record.”

So, look forward to more of these correspondences in the coming months. Today’s explained the ongoing situation at The Boston Globe, but didn’t really add any new news to what has already been reported about the union negotiation saga.

Earlier: The NYT Strikes Back At The Atlantic and The Atlantic Responds To The New York Times

Economist Group Has A Good Year

economist.pngAs other media companies struggle to survive, at least one seems to be doing very well: the Economist Group.

Last week, The Atlantic compared The Economist to Time and Newsweek, pointing out that the Economist had seen “advertising revenues increase last year by double digits — a remarkable 25 percent,” while the other two American newsweeklies had faltered.

Now comes more good news from The Economist Group, which publishes the magazine as well as titles like CFO and the Washington, D.C. pub Roll Call. According to a release put out by the company today, the group’s profit is up 26 percent (to almost $92 million ) and revenue is up 17 percent (to $513 million) for the fiscal year ending on March 31. What’s more, The Economist‘s worldwide circulation is up 6.4 percent to 1.39 million.

What could be behind such success in an age of dying print media?

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The Atlantic Tries To Pin Down The Economist‘s Success In Dying Magazine World

atlantic.pngIn the most recent Atlantic contributing editor Michael Hirschorn tackles why The Economist is thriving while newsweeklies like Time and Newsweek decline. It’s a hot topic for discussion recently — and even came up during the Columbia J-school business journalism panel we attended earlier this week.

Hirschorn’s take: “The writing in Time and Newsweek may be every bit as smart, as assured, as the writing in The Economist. But neither one feels like the only magazine you need to read.”

Hirschorn also makes the same “niche is king” argument that we have heard time and time again:

“Repositioning your brand today is so much harder than it was in the old days, especially when you’re destined to be seen as a copycat product. In the digital age, razor-sharp clarity and definition are the keys to success. Knowing what and who you are, and conveying that idea to an audience, is the only way to break through to readers ADD’ed out on an infinitude of choices. General-interest is out; niche is in. The irony, as restaurateurs and club-owners and sneaker companies and Facebook and Martha Stewart know — and as The Economist demonstrates, week in and week out — is that niche is sometimes the smartest way to take over the world.”

In a video interview with’s editorial director Bob Cohn, Hirschorn said the trends that have led to the downfall of the newsweekly were a long time coming. “All the trends that you’re seeing now have been under way for 25 years,” he said. “What’s different now is that the economic crisis is calling the question much more quickly.”

After the jump, the video of Hirschorn and Cohn’s talk

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Why I Followed Andrew Sullivan to the Financial District

It’s sort of fitting that my last FBNY post should be about The Atlantic dinner/conversation I attended earlier this evening, which featured Michael Hirschorn and Andrew Sullivan, since this post was actually my first foray into this whole blogging thing (and remains my top Google result).

The talk — the dinner part included chili, cornbread, and brownies — was billed in the invite as “A Conversation on the Future of Media” and the crowd that packed Justin Smith‘s downtown apartment included a whole lot of very recognizable New York Media names who will no doubt be heavily involved in that very Future. Here’s a non-exhaustive list: Bonnie Fuller, Harry Smith, Richard Perez-Pena, Nick Denton, Tad Friend, Duff McDonald, Gabriel Snyder, Jeff Bercovici, Matt Haber, Danny Shea, Brian Stelter, Rachel Sklar, Jon Fine, Dylan Stableford, Laurel Touby, James Bennett…and also, strangely(?), (the very tall) Sigourney Weaver.

Alas, neither Sullivan nor Hirschorn appeared to have any definite ideas about what ‘Media’ might look in the future other than that it would probably be very different from what we currently have, but also that the New York Times is in a lot of trouble. For those of you keeping score Andrew Sullivan still reads the dead tree edition of the Times every morning and does not Twitter. @LaurelTouby, @BrianStelter, and @RachelSklar, however, all have nice tweets from the party. Now(!), before I sign off for good here’s a couple of other interesting things I read today:

The Atlantic Responds to The New York Times

The Atlantic‘s Michael Hirschorn responds to The New York Times response to his articleThe End‘ (on a side note: at this rate these two could keep us all in business until at least May):

The analysis in my column was based on the New York Times Company’s public statements. As Catherine Mathis acknowledges, the Times has announced plans to borrow up to $225 million against the value of its building, but I should not have suggested that this borrowing had already begun. The information about revolving credit agreements referred to in Ms. Mathis’s letter was announced on December 9, as it happens the day my column (for the current print edition of The Atlantic) went to press.

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The NYT Strikes Back at The Atlantic

nyt.gifThe New York Times itself jumped into the NYT-Atlantic fray yesterday posting its own response — on Romenesko no less — to last week’s Michael Hirschorn Atlantic piece, which speculated that the Times could cease printing by May. The letter, written by Catherine Mathis SVP, Corporate Communications (who tells PRNewser that she “wrote the letter because…article was receiving substantial attention and warranted a response”) highlights financial ground already covered last week by Portfolio‘s Felix Salmon; namely that the Atlantic‘s numbers don’t add up (see either piece for details on that!).

Nothing earth shattering there. Though (“warranting” aside) one wonders why the Times felt the need to respond at all since it was pretty clear from the get that Hirschorn’s piece was mostly intended to be a conversation starter — even in this uncertain environment no one really believes that the Times will cease printing in five months (even those of us who never see it in print!). What is also of particular interest is that they waited a week and then chose this forum. Or maybe this is all just evidence they are beginning to smart a little from all the doom-and-gloom coverage of late.

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