Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Times Publisher Compares Print Media to the Titanic

So, we asked New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. at last night's benefit for The News Literacy Project, what advice did he have for young people who want to go into journalism these days, you know, given the job market? "Why don't we not go there?" he laughed. Then he went there anyway. "Um, what I would tell them is the industry is in the midst of a massive transition," he said. "But the core of the fundamental job is critical. We have to re-create ourselves, but the heart of what we're going to re-create is still journalism. The way people get information is changing, but the need for information will remain constant."

He thinks that physical newspapers will stick around as well. "The best analogy I can think of is — have you ever heard of the Titanic Fallacy?" he asked. We hadn't. "What was the critical flaw to the Titanic?" We tried to answer: Poor construction? Not enough life boats? Crashing into stuff? "A captain trying to set a world speed record through an iceberg field?" he said, shaking his head. "Even if the Titanic came in safely to New York Harbor, it was still doomed," he said. "Twelve years earlier, two brothers invented the airplane."

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