New York Times Combines Sections to Save Money

The New York Times is the latest newspaper to combine sections in an effort to save production costs (Arkansas’ own Morning News made a similar move recently). The Gray Lady says:

The Metro report will become part of the newspaper’s A section, which also contains the International and National reports, and the editorial and Op-Ed pages, on Mondays through Saturdays, and possibly on Sundays, as well.

The Sports report will go into the section that begins with Business Day, on Tuesdays through Fridays, while Sports will remain a separate section on weekends and on Mondays.

The Times says moving the Metro section will not affect its metro coverage, but some are already worried. According to Romenesko

Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger asks Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. “to look beyond the economic bottom line to consider the long-term legacy of the Times” when considering Metro coverage. “What a disservice it would be to the people of New York if our only option for finding significant news every day about our hometown was to purchase tabloids with little interest in the truth and even less interest in substance.”

In a memo to staff, the Times’ Bill Keller says the company made the move in an effort to save money without cutting back coverage.

The savings come from eliminating an early shift in the printing plants on some days. We do not expect to cut the space devoted to these important and popular areas of coverage, or to reduce the staff of journalists who deliver that coverage. For readers who like to single out the Metro or Sports sections for the train ride to work, the new configuration will be a little less convenient. But there will be no less of the great news reports, enterprise, features and columns they expect from those departments.

But in spite of all the hang-wringing a move like this causes for some, there’s a whole other generation that would no doubt find it all bafflingly irrelevent. Heck, even the J-school kids get tired of lugging the newspaper around:

“Every single journalism class at NYU has required me to bring the bulky newspaper,” writes Alana Taylor. “I don’t understand why they don’t let us access the online version, get our current events news from other outlets, or even use our NYTimes app on the iPhone. Bringing the New York Times pains me because I refuse to believe that it’s the only source for credible news or Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism and it’s a big waste of trees.”

Combining sections, cutting pages. Moot point?


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