From false stories about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to growing competition from online and twenty-four-hour cable news, the first decade of the twenty-first century was not particularly kind to the New York Times. In this groundbreaking study of the recent life and times of America's most important newspaper, Daniel R. Schwarz describes the transformation of the Times as it has confronted not only its various scandals and embarrassments but also the rapid rise of the internet and blogosphere, the ensuing decline in circulation and print advertising, and the change in what contemporary readers want and how they want to get it.
Drawing on more than forty one-on-one interviews with past and present editors (including every living executive editor), senior figures on the business and financial side, and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Schwarz discusses virtually every aspect of the contemporary Times, from columnists to cultural coverage. He explains how, in response to continuous online updating and twenty-four-hour all-news radio and television, the Times has become much more like a daily magazine than a traditional newspaper, with increased analysis (as opposed to reporting) of the news as well as value-added features on health, travel, investing, and food.
After carefully tracing the rise of the Times's website, Schwarz asks whether the Times can survive as a print newspaper, whether it can find a business model to support its vast print and online newsgathering operation, and whether the Sulzberger family can survive as controlling owners. He also asks whether the Times, in its desperate effort to survive, has abandoned its quality standards by publishing what he calls Timeslite and Timestrash.
Writing as a skeptical outsider and devoted lifelong reader, Schwarz concludes that the Times is the worst newspaper in the world--except for all the others. Endtimes? is a must-read for Times readers as well as anyone interested in the radical change in print and broadcast media in the rapidly evolving Internet Age.
Daniel R. Schwarz is Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English Literature and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University. His previous books include In Defense of Reading: Teaching Literature in the Twenty-First Century and Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture.