All the News That’s Fit to Print (Only)

The Good Grey Lady has gone bipolar.

On the one hand, the New York Times is hellbent to goose its digital subscriptions, an effort that has been aided and abetted by the election of Donald J. Trump as America’s 45th president.

On the other, the Times has made efforts to boost its decreasingly lucrative print edition by producing print-only features like yesterday’s Puzzle section, which was promoted by a full-page ad in Thursday’s New England edition (although – inexplicably – it doesn’t appear in the Times Replica edition) and this press release two weeks ago.

New York Times to Offer Special Puzzle Section, Exclusive to Print Readers

The New York Times Magazine today announced that it will produce a special, print-only Puzzle Spectacular, to appear with the Sunday, December 18 edition of the newspaper. The special broadsheet section, which will be edited and introduced by New York Times Crossword editor Will Shortz and The Times’s puzzle team, will be devoted entirely to a series of different puzzles, including, as a centerpiece, the largest crossword puzzle in the history of The New York Times.

Via Google Images:




That special section follows on the heels of print-only offerings of an August excerpt from Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, and April’s  Fraying at the Edges, which chronicled a heartbreaking story of coming to grips with Alzheimer’s (and eventually wound up on the Times website).

Respect to the Times for doing its best to get the print edition off life support. But, sadly, it’s just whistling past its own graveyard.

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The Native Advertisers Are Restless


Once around the park, James, and don’t spare the sources!

The hardtracking staff has started to discern the dawn of Sneak 2.0 – a second wave of stealth marketing that tries to herd the ads in sheep’s clothing into more profitable quarters.

Start with Joe Mandese’s piece in MediaPost’s MediaDailyNews

Native Ad Plans Shift From Publishers To Social, Facebook Dominates By Wide Margin

Digital publishers may have embraced “native” formats as a godsend for new advertising revenues, but the majority of ad execs are more keen on using the method on social media outlets vs. conventional content publishers. That’s the top-line finding of a new survey of advertisers and agency executives being released today by Advertiser Perceptions Inc., which suggests native advertising is reaching an inflection point that will soon be dominated primarily by social media.

Helpful graphic:




Which is to say: “Currently, ad execs estimate 43% of their native ad budgets are being allocated to conventional publishers, but that is down an average of 25% vs. 2015. Social networks currently account for 39% of the respondents’ native ad budgets, but that is up 14% over 2015.”

Facebook, here they come.

Then again, where native ads run might not matter so much, given this Joe Lazauskas piece at NiemanLab . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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The New York Time$ Money Machine (Student Travel Edition)

First in what we expect will be a long-running series

As the hardworking staff has noted, the New York Times is exploring every possible revenue source in order to stay afloat in these parlous times for the newspaper industry.

Exhibit Umpteen, from Wednesday’s edition of the Times.




Full itinerary here for those lucky students.

Full disclosure: The hardscuffling staff went exactly two places during our student years – an ill-fated trip to New Orleans (which we prefer not to detail) and a calamitous jaunt to Puerto Rico (which we will recount upon request).

Neither of which cost more than $300.

As opposed to the $7990 for Italy: Farm to Table in Tuscany, Campania and Sicily.

Different Times, yeah?

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$igns of the New York Times (Virtually None of Them Good)

Given the knee-buckling 19% drop in print ad revenue at the New York Times last quarter, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of open space in the newspaper these days.

And the Times is filling that open space with . . . itself.

As the hardworking staff noted last month, “the New York Times is searching hither and yon for new revenue sources, including the Times Journeys travel agency, the Times Store retail outlet, and New York Times Conferences, which brings together the international chinstrokerati ‘to deepen understanding of vital topics, advance innovative solutions to major challenges and provide new opportunities for businesses.'”

Well, that’s not even the half of it.

Here’s a sampling of house ads the Times ran last weekend, a mix of advertising for Times editorial content and Times revenue-generating content.

Let’s start with Saturday’s edition. Here’s an ad for a new Times video series called The Art of Better that “reveals the secrets and science behind productivity.”




What the ad doesn’t tell you (although the website sort of does) is that the series is branded content – aka marketing material – sponsored by payroll services giant ADP. Here’s what’s at the top of the homepage:




T Brand Studio, of course, is the Times in-house native advertising shop, which is slowly turning into a full-service ad agency, as this Wall Street Journal piece notes.

By the way, the Times website also makes no mention of the series being sponsored content.




Paging Liz Spayd . . . paging Public Editor Liz Spayd.

Up next on Saturday was this ad touting the next day’s Times Magazine.




Then there were these two ads for Times chotchkes






Okay, so that was Saturday. Let’s move on to Sunday’s edition, which was even more action-packed, starting with this ad for the New Work Summit, “a new kind of conference that brings together a collection of brilliant minds — from top C.E.O.s to neuroscientists, from tech stars to organizational psychologists and other experts — to share research, insights and strategies for building the teams of the future.”




You’ll find the agenda and speakers from last’s year’s shindig here. You’ll also find that the two-day conference (at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, CA) costs $4000 per person.

And, of course, there are sponsorship opportunities:

Align your brand with influential consumers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries through high-impact integrations. Host delegates at private cocktail or dinner receptions, conduct on-site polling, develop custom content, display product and amplify your sponsorship through on-site branding and extensive print, digital and social media promotion.

Or you could just run an ad in the Times Magazine, as this ad on Sunday urged.




The pitch:




Not for you? Then how about some virtual reality videos, compliments of the Times and Samsung.





Too modern? Maybe buy this book from the Times store instead.




Here’s something novel: Using newspaper real estate to sell the newspaper’s real estate.




The pitch:




And one last ad for Times bric-a-brac.




Not to mention the additional four-page Times Store insert and the four-page New York Times Wine Club insert – neither of which was included in the Times Replica edition of Sunday’s paper.

But clearly all of that is not enough in revenue-generating terms, because a letter poured into the Worldwide Headquarters last week informing us that our home subscription has now gone up to $19.50 per week, or $1014 per annum. (Just for scale, digital subscriptions go for $10 to $15 a month.)

This circulation hike is part of a trend, as Seeking Alpha noted last week.

In 2015 circulation revenues made up over 50% of total revenues at the New York Times (NYSE:NYT), while less than 10 years ago it was only 25%. 2016 may finish with circulation revenues at around 60% of total revenues.

Memo to the Times: There’s a limit to how much you can soak your print readers. And, not for nothing, we won’t be around forever.

Meanwhile, we kind of like that Man Ray print at lower left of the Times Store ad.

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The Yin and Yang of Donald Trump’s Tweeting

The hardworking staff has concluded that not only are there two Americas, there are two media Americas as well.

Case in point: These bookend pieces about the Twitter feed of (say it – c’mon, say it) president-elect Donald J. Trump.

Start with Michael D. Shear’s front-page report in Friday’s New York Times.

Trump as Cyberbully in Chief? New Twitter Attack Draws Fire

WASHINGTON — Thirty years as a union boss in Indiana have given Chuck Jones a thick skin. But even threats to shoot him or burn his house down did not quite prepare him for becoming the target of a verbal takedown by the next president of the United States.

In what one Republican strategist described as “cyberbullying,” President-elect Donald J. Trump derided Mr. Jones on Twitter, accusing him of doing “a terrible job representing workers” and blaming him for the decisions by companies that ship American jobs overseas.


The Times report also had various and sundry members of the chinstrokerati characterizing Trump’s tweet as “unprecedented” and evidence of his “willingness to weaponize his Twitter feed.”

And the obligatory is he nuts? graf:

“What you may think is a light tap is a howitzer,” [former Obama administration senior adviser David] Axelrod said. “When you have the man in the most powerful office, for whom there is no target too small, that is a chilling prospect. He has the ability to destroy people in 140 characters.”

Now compare ‘n’ contrast that with Andrew Ferguson’s piece in The Weekly Standard about Trump’s tweets, “those midnight brain belches that suddenly erupt from Trump Tower and are turned into instant news by a panting press corps.”

Ferguson’s drive the chinstrokerati nuts graf:

With a tweet here and a tweet there, and with a reliably hair-trigger hysteria from the press only 140 characters away, Trump is happily driving a wedge between the news media and their intended customers. As if they weren’t already unpopular enough! The dawning Trump era is pushing the mainstream press further and further to the margins of the conversation Americans think is worth paying attention to.

We urge you splendid readers to read the entire piece by the always readable Ferguson.

Then draw your own conclusions.

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Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times (Umpteenth Plus Three Yoko Ono Edition)

As the hardworking staff has noted before, Rift Beatle Yoko Ono runs full-page ads in the New York Times almost as often as Lord & Taylor does.

And especially around Christmas time.

So, as (good) day (sunshine) follows (hard day’s) night, now comes this year’s edition in Thursday’s Times.



Just for the record, here’s

And just for the record, we continue to admire Yoko Ono’s persistence in this pursuit.

The same way we continue to believe she might just as well set her money (gotta be over a million bucks in Times ads by now) on fire.

Imagine that.

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The Wall Street Journal Is a Shell of Its Former Self

It’s just sad what’s become of the Wall Street Journal.

Last month the Journal started slashing staff and sections, as this Fortune piece noted.

Wall Street Journal Begins Layoffs, Cuts Sections

Shakeup comes amid cost cutting push.

News Corp’s The Wall Street Journal will launch a new format for the newspaper with fewer sections on Nov. 14, and has begun laying off employees as part of an effort to cut costs, according to two memos reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Journal laid off staff of its Greater New York section, according to a memo sent on Wednesday from the International Association of Publishers’ Employees to members of the union at the paper. The layoffs include 19 IAPE-represented employees.

The layoffs came just weeks after Dow Jones & Co, the News Corp unit that oversees the newspaper, announced a three-year plan to cut costs in response to a decline in print advertising.

Exhibit A: Wednesday’s edition of the Journal, which consisted of two (!) sections, both of which struggled to be substantial.

On the good-news front, though, the Journal has finally established an e-edition of the paper, something that’s been long overdue.

So we’ll see, yeah?

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Civilians Who Run Quarter-Page Ads in the New York Times (Wells Fargo Greed Edition II)

The latest in our long-running series about people with all those dollars and no sense

As you splendid readers undoubtedly do not remember, last month the hardworking staff noted this full-page ad in the New York Times.




The ad from Texas entrepreneur Lacy Harber also ran in the Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, and Charlotte Observer at a total cost of more than $250,000, according to Harber’s attorney.

Close-up for the copy impaired:


This Dallas Morning News piece has all the gory details, the goriest of which is that Harber  says Wells Fargo lost him $6 million.


Now comes this ad in Tuesday’s Times, with strikingly similar language about Wells Fargo.




Close-up for the copy impaired:


The hardGoogling staff has found nothing about Mr. Silverman or his background, so we called the 800 number he helpfully provided to see if we might learn some of his particulars.

He has yet to return our call.

What we’re most eager to know is whether Mr. Silverman is acquainted with Mr. Harber.

As always, we’ll keep you posted.

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The Nude York Times

As the hardblushing staff has noted, the Grey Lady has slowly been opening the kimono in its print pages, starting with this ulp-skirt Louis Vuitton image a couple of years ago.




Then there was this Gagosian Gallery ad a couple of months ago.




Now comes this Christie’s ad in yesterday’s Times.




The eyeverting staff leaves you to draw your own conclusions.

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Donald Trump Is the Uber of American Politics

Let’s begin with the obvious about the 2016 U.S. presidential election: Given that they were the two most-disliked American presidential candidates in polling history, Hillary Clinton was the only opponent Donald Trump could possibly have beaten, and Donald Trump was the only opponent Hillary Clinton could possibly have beaten.

A match made in hell, in other words.489713700-5163

Twenty years ago, when Hillary Clinton was First Lady, New York Times op-ed columnist William Safire called her “a congenital liar,” a characterization he later regretted but which might still be accurate nonetheless.

Donald Trump, however, has gone Clinton one better: He’s a reflexive liar who, as one observer noted, has no principles or standards – just context. Trump says whatever benefits him most in that moment.

Thus, when the American public came to view Trump as more trustworthy than Clinton, the presidential race was truly through the looking glass, as 19th century British author Lewis Carroll (no relation) would put it.

Amid all that reality-bending, how then to explain the stunning results of the 2016 race for the White House?

Perhaps it will help to frame it this way: In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Hillary Clinton was the taxicab industry, and Donald Trump was Uber.

And how, exactly, was the self-styled billionaire businessman like the digital ride-hailing service?

Like this:

Donald Trump’s campaign was disruptive

The Accidental Candidate broke every rule in the campaign handbook: He refused to release his tax returns; he refused to appear in person on the Sunday morning TV talk shows (he alone was allowed to phone it in because he was ratings catnip); he threatened to jail his opponent upon becoming president; he demonized and delegitimized the news media.

Best quote about the Trump press coverage came from Salena Zito in The Atlantic: “The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

Donald Trump’s campaign was decentralized

Like Uber, Trump ran administratively lean: At one point, his campaign staff was 1/10th of Hillary Clinton’s. Instead of hiring, he outsourced his get-out-the-vote effort to the Republican National Committee and to the ground operations of GOP statewide races for U.S. Senate.

Trump was the perfect gig-economy candidate: No credentials, a spotty background, makes his own hours (always got home for bedtime), and constantly whines about not getting a 5 rating from his customers.

Donald Trump’s campaign was destructive

Call the roll:

  • Trump dismantled the establishment wing of the Republican Party
  • Trump neutered the news media
  • Trump knee-capped the Democratic Party

In other words, Donald Trump blew up the whole system.

So, to recap:

Despite – or because of – all of the above, Donald Trump easily won the Electoral College vote and will be the 45th President of the United States.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, won only the popular vote.

Fun fact to know and tell: In 2000, after George W. Bush won the Electoral College vote (thanks to the Supreme Court’s intervention) while Al Gore won the popular vote, Hillary Clinton advocated abolishing the Electoral College system of choosing presidents.

Ironic, no?

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