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Deadline: The New York Times

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This programme contains very strong language

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It's hardly breaking news that the newspaper business is in deep trouble.

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The Rocky Mountain News, which has been around for 150 years,

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is publishing its last edition today.

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A great newspaper is dead.

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Denver can't support two newspapers any longer.

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It's a grim race to see who goes under first.

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The Philadelphia Daily News and Minneapolis Star Tribune

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are both in bankruptcy.

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The Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle have been losing...

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The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the largest daily newspaper yet to go out of business.

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Tribune Company, owner of the LA Times and Chicago Tribune filed for bankruptcy.

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The Gannett Company is faltering.

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All the news fit to print for 88 years...

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After 146 years, the print edition is now a thing of the past.

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New York Times stock is off more than 75%.

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The New York Times? Are you kidding me?!

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The obituary column these days is full of the death notices of American daily newspapers.

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There's been a death watch on New York Times

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as long as I've been in media.

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People are sort of fascinated with what's going to be

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the demise of this great institution.

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And it hasn't come, and it hasn't come,

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but that doesn't lessen people's certainty that it will come.

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OK, I see this as a big story.

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I can probably get significant space.

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What do you think the story is that I should tell?

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'Lately when I finish an interview,

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'subjects have a question of their own.

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'What's going to happen at The New York Times?'

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'Even casual followers of the newspaper industry

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'could rattle off the doomsday tick tock.'

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Bruce Headlam.

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'As much as we flatter ourselves, it's still an old school business.'

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I'm the Media Editor.

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'Trees are still cut and papers are still delivered.'

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-I just think that helps us sort of be in the mix.

-Yeah, yeah.

-OK.

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'Not to worry, suggest new media prophets.

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'The end of The New York Times wouldn't be a big deal, they say,

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'because Tweets, blogs and news aggregators could create

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'a new apparatus of accountability.'

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Say again?

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'But some stories are beyond the database.

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'Sometimes people have to make calls,

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'hit the streets and walk past the conventional wisdom.'

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Well, trust me, if your numbers are better

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than anybody else's, I will write that.

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I'm just always sceptical when everybody tells me

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that the numbers don't mean what they appear to mean, you know.

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Everybody gives me that line, so I don't accept it from anybody.

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The collapse in advertising happened

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faster than anybody anticipated.

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This year in 2009,

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there's been about a 30% decline in advertising revenue,

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on top of about a 17% decline last year,

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and nobody knows where that ends.

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It might just be that something very permanent has changed.

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Two things have happened to The Times, I think, most of all.

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The first thing is the advertising market has turned upside down.

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So at the same time as the revenue takes a hit,

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suddenly publishing has gone from being

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something done by a specialty class to being something that literally

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every connected citizen has access to.

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So the authoritative tone with which The Times has always spoken,

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is now one of many, many voices in a marketplace.

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The reduction in advertising revenue

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coupled with the competition for attention both at the same time

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has turned this from a transition into a revolution.

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This is about WikiLeaks, a website

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which calls itself an intelligence agency for the people.

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And yesterday they posted this video of a US attack,

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an aerial attack, where there were 12 people killed.

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The government claimed these were insurgents,

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but turns out there were two Reuters employees

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and then some other unknown people.

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WikiLeaks somehow from an anonymous source gets the video

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and puts it on YouTube.

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It felt like a possible front page story to Bruce and I.

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Now the assignment for the rest of the day

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is to keep the story interesting to editors.

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We're trying to do a front page story on what this means,

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and what this means for journalism.

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It's great for journalists in some ways, because it's out there,

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but it's this collision of two worlds.

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This closed old world of expertise

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and classification and information and privacy

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and this new world that wants to crack it all open.

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You know, we see it ourselves. We're a perfect example

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of a culture that's having what we do completely ripped open.

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PHONE RINGS

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Hey, did you send it?

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OK, yeah, I got it. Thanks. Bye.

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This is watching people get killed in an incredibly graphic way in a war

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and hearing the reactions of the soldiers.

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I didn't see the van flip over. I didn't notice it last time.

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What a fucking terrible story.

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"The release of the Iraq video

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"is heaping attention on the once obscure website,

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"which takes advantage of the global internet

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"to give hidden information on governments and corporations."

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They didn't have to drop this off at NBC News or The New York Times.

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They dropped it on YouTube and waited for everybody to find it.

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Even with The Pentagon Papers,

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they had to be delivered by hand and they can stop the presses.

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This, they're just putting it up there where everybody can see it.

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-Hello.

-Yes, sir.

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Hi, Al, anything new on your front today?

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Very significant, this goddamn New York Times expose

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of the most highly classified documents of the war.

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Goddamn it, I'm not going to have it.

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Could The Times be prosecuted?

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As far as The Times is concerned, they're our enemies.

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I think we just ought to do it

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and anyway, nobody from New York Times is to be talked to.

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The decision to publish The Pentagon Papers

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was the moment when the American news media

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stood up and said, "We are independent of the presidency

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"and we are going to do what we think is the right thing to do."

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Mr Sulzberger, do you feel national security is endangered, as charged by the administration?

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I certainly do not.

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These papers, I think, as our editorial said this morning,

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were really a part of a part of history

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that should have been made available considerably longer ago.

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I just didn't feel there was any breach of national security

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in the sense that we were giving secrets to the enemy.

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Julian Assange, editor for WikiLeaks,

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denies that the site has put troops in danger.

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Assange is clearly an advocate and opponent of the war.

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Assange made a name for himself as a hacker,

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and was arrested for computer crimes

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before starting his whistleblower website.

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We would like to see the revelations this material gives

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investigated by governments,

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and new policies

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put in place as a result, if not prosecutions.

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I've got to try Julian again,

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cos I have not heard back from him at all.

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Hello.

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Hi, it's Brian Stelter calling from The Times.

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There's a traditional definition of journalism that is objective,

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totally legal, never breaking the law to obtain content.

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Do you view yourself as trying to achieve that definition,

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or is your definition of journalism broader?

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And tell me what the goal is. Tell me what the goal is.

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I don't know if what he's doing is good or bad.

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Clearly, you know, in an open society, information is important.

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It's vital for people to make decisions.

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On the other hand, there are things to get people in trouble.

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The video was edited in a way that did not show the full story.

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It was presented as journalism, but it had, you know, an agenda.

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Is "journalist" a word you attach to yourself?

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OK.

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The video has been edited to the extent

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that you have a hard time knowing the greater context.

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There is, there is.

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-So they have both, right?

-They did do both.

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But the unedited version clearly shows a guy carrying an RPG.

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They're shifting from being a clearing house to being an advocacy.

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-It's a big decision to suddenly edit a 30-minute thing.

-Are you writing separately on this?

-We are.

-OK.

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I certainly had not heard of WikiLeaks before that moment.

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And I think probably a lot of my colleagues hadn't, either.

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That was the time it kind of burst out into broader public view.

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Hey, hey, did you send it?

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Oh, I saw a... There was a note in there I didn't see from you. I'm going to open it up.

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He's lying. Oh, he didn't send it. I knew he didn't send it.

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There's two A1 meetings, the 10.30 where we discuss the stories of the day, what we're going to offer.

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And a 4.00, when the top editors make that decision.

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It's all the desk heads, or somebody from each desk. You make pitches, they ask questions.

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They decide what they want to put in the paper the next day. It's kind of a competition.

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You go in there and lots of people want stories and we fight to get on A1. But it's constructive fighting.

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OK, folks, we're still waiting for a few people but I think we can get started. First, Bruce.

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This is our follow on the video that was released yesterday on the web.

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We're looking at WikiLeaks, the organisation that leaked it.

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It's a very interesting moment. They've been gaining notoriety because of the Baghdad video.

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They've put up the raw footage, which is 38 minutes.

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They've also put up an edited version, which is what many people are seeing,

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and there are already people in the Army and elsewhere

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saying that this distorts what actually happened there.

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And when they went to get the bodies,

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they found a guy with the RPG,

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so as Bruce was saying, it's become advocacy. Now...

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-Somebody's...yeah.

-They probably belong in the same place.

-I'm sorry?

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-They probably belong in one kind of coherent whole, right?

-Sure.

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Yeah, right, right.

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'In the Page One meeting, the most senior editors

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'look at the summary of the story and say, "Have you framed it correctly? Does this seem loaded?

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'"Do you have enough facts to back this up?"'

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And then ultimately people present their arguments and build the sides.

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Oh, the West Bank story.

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Hm.

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I don't think the whole country is interested in Sharpe James.

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No.

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Swing Sharpe and West Bank?

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West Bank's going to have a big readership here.

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Yeah, I wouldn't swing that.

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Swing it with WikiLeaks?

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-Uh-huh.

-OK, swing it with WikiLeaks.

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Let's leave the West Bank story.

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It's going to swing, so in New York it will go inside,

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but for the rest of the country it will go on the front page.

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You know, you look for that moment where you can really tell people, "Here's how the world's changing."

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When I gave The Pentagon Papers to The Times,

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there was a 22-month period

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from the start of my copying to it finally coming out.

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Had the internet existed then,

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I would have bought a scanner, sent it out to all the blogs.

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It's not certain that that would have had as good an effect,

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but at least it would have been out.

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The bottom line is WikiLeaks doesn't need us.

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Daniel Ellsberg did.

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The old newspaper model is dying.

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Period. Done.

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News is not dying. News is much cheaper to produce now because we can gather and share in new ways,

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operate on cheap platforms, in networks. There's incredible new ways to do news.

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There is still an enormous amount of information out there,

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but these papers have the great capacity of a newsroom.

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And if you think of the history of these institutions...

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Watergate, Abu Ghraib, the Walter Reed scandal,

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it is these institutions bringing to bear newsrooms of experienced journalists.

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I think we're at a dangerous moment in American journalism.

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The question really is whether it's too late for some institutions

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to take advantage of that change and change as much as they have to.

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So along comes David Carr, the most human of humans,

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talking about how media operates within The New York Times.

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Please welcome David Carr!

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You were... You are a former crack addict

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and you are a reporter for The New York Times.

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Which of these two do you think is more damaging to society?

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'If you write about the media long enough,

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'eventually you'll type your way to your own doorstep.

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'I arrived at The New York Times late in my professional life,

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'and I have an immigrant's love of the place.

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'The chip that was implanted in me when I arrived,

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'let's just call it New York Times exceptionalism,

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'leads me to conclude that of course we will survive.'

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You're so nice!

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'Then again, having suffered through drug addiction in my 20s and 30s,

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'landing in jail for cocaine possession,

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'raising two children as a single parent,

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'and eventually ending up at The New York Times,

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'I know what it's like to come out the other side when the odds are stacked against you.'

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Hi, I'm looking for Alex.

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Sure, you can go have a seat on the couch.

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-Huh?

-He'll be right back.

-OK.

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-Hi.

-This is David Carr from The New York Times.

-Don't keep saying I'm from The New York Times.

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-That sucks. I'm just...it's just me.

-It's nice to meet you.

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-Nice to meet you.

-Hi, pleased to meet you. How are you?

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We wanted to get everyone together to do a company-wide update.

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The media landscape is changing in dramatic ways in just six months.

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So print as an industry and a medium continues to nosedive.

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Publications like Newsweek and Times are going down fast.

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We like to say that we're perfectly positioned.

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Not only are the sort of biggest media companies willing to come talk to us,

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but the biggest brands want to come talk to us and give us money.

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And what we have to do is we have to figure out

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how we can be meaner and faster and more dynamic than everybody out there.

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We don't want to get hot and die. We want to get hotter.

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You asked the question is there a business model that, like...

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-Just a sec, though.

-Yeah.

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I want you to fill me on this. I don't do corporate portraiture.

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What the fuck is going on that you're doing business with CNN?

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We know how to speak to young people. They're listening to us. We're a trusted brand for them.

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The first thing that CNN said when they walked into the meeting last summer was,

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"49-year-olds are watching CNN right now, and we're fucked.

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"Can you please help us develop a new, young audience for the future?

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"They like the way you tell stories. They like your hosts. They like where you go."

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That's really what they came looking for.

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So what kind of war is this - guerrilla?

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I don't know Liberia. I don't know what's going on.

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I'm not going there for a news thing.

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I'm not there to solve the problems of the world. I'm just a regular guy.

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I didn't get flown in on a thing. I don't have security. I've been to places, just fucking insane.

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If you're a CNN viewer and you go, "Hm, I'm looking at human shit on the beach."

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I'm a regular guy and I go to these places and I go,

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"OK, everyone talked to me about cannibalism, right?"

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I'm getting a lot of shit for saying the word "cannibalism" and stuff, whatever.

0:18:180:18:22

Everyone talked to me about cannibalism!

0:18:220:18:24

-So you'd kill the child?

-Yes.

-And then drink the blood?

-Yeah.

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That's fucking crazy. So our audience goes, "That's fucking insane. Like, that's nuts."

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And The New York Times meanwhile is writing about surfing.

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I'm sitting there going, "I'm not going to talk about surfing.

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-"I'm going to talk about cannibalism because that fucks me up."

-Just a sec. Time out.

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Before you ever went there, we've had reporters there reporting on genocide after genocide.

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And just because you put on a fucking safari helmet

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-and went and looked at some poop doesn't give you the right to insult what we do.

-True.

0:19:010:19:05

-So continue, continue.

-Sorry.

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I'm just saying that I'm not a journalist. I'm not there to report.

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-Obviously. Go ahead.

-I'm sorry.

0:19:110:19:14

I'm just talking about, you know, look what I saw there.

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What's up?

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Dressed like a big Page One guy.

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-How are you?

-Boy, what a day.

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The Times was really where I wanted to work

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from when I was very young.

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I had this idea of the place as this magisterial place where great things happened and were done.

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And there was this idea in the past

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where getting to The Times was almost like getting tenure.

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And you could have this great long 30-year, 40-year career

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where you go cover politics, you cover some foreign, write a book.

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And that's not the track now.

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Ladies and gentlemen, we are now on West 43rd Street

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in Midtown Manhattan in the central office of The New York Times.

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They are this minute busy getting ready.

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This is the beehive, the central office, the city room.

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Here an avalanche of news is shaped into Monday morning's newspaper.

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Well, here we are, boys.

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That is Turner Catledge, the managing editor.

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I just heard from the circulation department

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that we had the largest distribution of papers today

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in the history of The New York Times.

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Hard news was a phrase The Times almost owned.

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NBC, CBS, ABC, the first thing they'd do in the morning,

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the directors would look at The New York Times.

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If "The New York Times" had a story about such and such in a faraway place,

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the networks would think, "Ah, we'll send Walter Cronkite there."

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When I was growing up, I read The Times every morning.

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Then I read this book by Gay Talese, The Kingdom And The Power,

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and it went inside this imperial institution.

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And he just, you know, thrilled me.

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I mean, there was nothing else I wanted to do.

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The Times was a very human institution,

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run by flawed figures, men who saw things as they could see them.

0:20:570:21:01

But it was equally true that The Times nearly always tried to be fair.

0:21:010:21:05

And each day, barring labour strikes or hydrogen bombs,

0:21:050:21:08

it would appear in 11,464 cities around the nation and in all the capitals of the world,

0:21:080:21:13

50 copies going to the White House,

0:21:130:21:15

39 copies to Moscow, a few smuggled into Beijing,

0:21:150:21:19

and a thick Sunday edition to the foreign minister in Taiwan,

0:21:190:21:22

because he required The Times as necessary proof of the Earth's existence,

0:21:220:21:27

a barometer of its pressure, an assessor of its sanity.

0:21:270:21:32

If the world did indeed still exist,

0:21:320:21:34

he knew it would be duly recorded each day in The Times.

0:21:340:21:38

There's actually something called The New York Times effect.

0:21:380:21:42

In the world of analogue newspapers, there was an observable effect.

0:21:420:21:46

If on day one, The New York Times ran a piece on a particular story,

0:21:460:21:49

a political or business issue,

0:21:490:21:51

on day two, the tier-two newspapers would all essentially imitate the story.

0:21:510:21:55

Like everything else in the newspaper business,

0:21:550:21:58

we didn't realise that The New York Times effect

0:21:580:22:01

actually depended on the structure of analogue newspaper distribution.

0:22:010:22:05

The Times still, I think to a remarkable degree, sets the agenda.

0:22:050:22:10

You really can trace almost any major story these days

0:22:100:22:13

back to something that originally appeared in The Times.

0:22:130:22:16

The problem is, is that once it reaches the public,

0:22:160:22:20

they may not even know it came from The Times.

0:22:200:22:23

OK, so at 6.00am the release goes out. Is that right?

0:22:240:22:28

For two, three months now, I think end of September, the story leaked that Comcast was going to buy NBC.

0:22:280:22:34

It seems like finally it will be announced.

0:22:340:22:37

So the challenge is this piece I'm working on with Sorkin,

0:22:370:22:40

what we call a tick-tock, which is the fun details behind the scenes of how the deal came together.

0:22:400:22:44

I'm just waiting for Andrew to come up so we can sort that out, and we'll get that in the paper tomorrow.

0:22:440:22:50

-By the way, how's the tick-tock coming?

-Sorkin, I'm waiting for him.

0:22:500:22:54

-Has he filed anything?

-No.

-So that means he hasn't written a word.

0:22:540:22:57

-At 11.00, he said, "I'll have something in an hour."

-I'll look like a chump if I don't hit that.

0:22:570:23:02

Our deal was he was going to write what he had and I was going to write into it.

0:23:020:23:06

Do you want me to go to him and say Bruce needs to talk?

0:23:060:23:08

-Just say Bruce needs it in 15 minutes.

-OK.

0:23:080:23:11

It's another reshaping of the media industry.

0:23:120:23:15

Comcast, which is the biggest cable company,

0:23:150:23:17

look at the future and see what's going on in media, and worry about if young people are watching TV online,

0:23:170:23:22

will they need to keep paying their cable bills?

0:23:220:23:24

So they feel like, if they can own as much of the television shows and the movies,

0:23:240:23:29

they can play a bigger part in that future.

0:23:290:23:32

I want to talk to you. Can I wait?

0:23:350:23:39

You'll come up?

0:23:390:23:40

He's going to come up.

0:23:400:23:43

All right, here's the lead. "The secret meeting..." Secret.

0:23:450:23:49

"The secret meeting was set for 1.00pm the second week of July

0:23:490:23:53

"in an out-of-the-way condominium along the ninth hole of the golf course in Sun Valley, Idaho.

0:23:530:23:58

"Jeffrey Immelt got to the condo first,

0:23:580:24:00

"trying desperately to avoid being spotted by Jeff Zucker,

0:24:000:24:04

"the chief executive of NBC Universal who was mingling with executives by the duck pond

0:24:040:24:08

"a couple hundred yards away and had no idea what was happening."

0:24:080:24:11

OK, anyway, here's the story. I'm calling GE now.

0:24:110:24:14

OK.

0:24:140:24:16

-So I'm hoping you can like...

-Sort of maybe tie it together.

-..tie it together.

0:24:160:24:20

It's basically just all these little weird stories. I tried to tie it and leave little places to...

0:24:200:24:24

It works out for Comcast if the thing becomes worth a lot of money in the future.

0:24:240:24:28

-OK.

-That's basically the concept.

0:24:280:24:31

All right. How many words do you think we have for this? It's very long.

0:24:310:24:35

-Can you do it in 1,500?

-Yeah.

0:24:350:24:36

-Is it looking good? Are you happy?

-Yeah.

-Some of this may be too much detail.

0:24:390:24:42

-I went a little overboard.

-Yeah, no, I'm tightening it up.

0:24:420:24:46

-He said we have 1,500 words.

-This thing's like 1,500 words now.

0:24:460:24:49

No, no, he said we could have 1,500.

0:24:490:24:51

I'll check. I've gotta make sure we got the space.

0:24:510:24:54

Did Sorkin have a look?

0:24:540:24:56

Sorkin just emailed me and said file away, but said don't put it on the web yet,

0:24:560:25:00

because he still needs to confirm something.

0:25:000:25:03

Once we could pare it down and tighten it up, I think it read well.

0:25:030:25:06

It tried to tell a tale rather than get bogged down in the financials and the numbers.

0:25:060:25:12

Here was this kid, 21-year-old Brian Stelter, who started a blog,

0:25:240:25:27

who did it anonymously so no-one would out him, until The Times outed him as a kid.

0:25:270:25:31

He made his brand and his reputation by getting out there blogging.

0:25:310:25:34

He became this must-read for the Brian Williamses of the world.

0:25:340:25:38

The Times had the idea, "Why don't we hire this guy?"

0:25:380:25:41

A week after that story was published,

0:25:410:25:43

The Times contacted me and asked me to come up

0:25:430:25:45

and do these series of interviews back to back to back with editors, seeing if you're Times material.

0:25:450:25:50

You see him at his desk and he's got two laptops and TVs open and he's Twittering,

0:25:500:25:55

and he just embodies everything about new media.

0:25:550:25:58

I don't know why anybody who's a reporter isn't on Twitter.

0:25:580:26:01

I berate my colleagues who aren't on it.

0:26:010:26:04

It drives me nuts when I'll hear my colleagues talking about a story at noon,

0:26:040:26:09

and I read it on Twitter at midnight.

0:26:090:26:11

I'm thinking, "Why is that allowed? "Why are we not on top of the news?" It's 2010.

0:26:110:26:15

I still can't get over the feeling that Brian Stelter was a robot

0:26:150:26:20

assembled in the basement of The New York Times to come and destroy me.

0:26:200:26:24

I'm putting the expensive beer on the top.

0:26:290:26:32

'Welcome to Austin, the city where, for the time being, everybody is famous,

0:26:340:26:40

'the economy is rocking and the grid is groaning under an influx of the digitally interested.'

0:26:400:26:45

-I might have to put you on ban.

-No, I agree, I agree.

0:26:450:26:49

I might have to put you on ban.

0:26:490:26:51

You're both going to end up with your devices over the fence.

0:26:540:26:59

'Twitter entered the lexicon two years ago here,

0:26:590:27:02

'when it was the darling of the conference.

0:27:020:27:05

'Why talk when you can tweet?'

0:27:050:27:08

You're reading an article. If you want to tweet about it, you can do it right there.

0:27:080:27:12

Headlines can be sent out via Twitter.

0:27:120:27:14

It's about finding out what's happening in the world.

0:27:140:27:17

'Really, what could anyone possibly find useful

0:27:170:27:20

'in this cacophony of short-burst communication?

0:27:200:27:25

'But at 52, I succumbed, partly out of professional necessity.

0:27:250:27:30

'Now nearly a year later, has Twitter turned my brain to mush? No.'

0:27:300:27:35

It's hard to convince someone to use Twitter

0:27:350:27:37

until they use it for 10 days and they're, like,

0:27:370:27:40

"This is why it's interesting."

0:27:400:27:42

'I'm a narrative on more things at a given moment than I ever thought possible.

0:27:420:27:46

'I get a sense of today's news and how people are reacting to it in the time it takes to wait for coffee.

0:27:460:27:52

'Nearly a year in, I've come to understand that the real value of the service

0:27:520:27:57

'is listening to a wired, collective voice.

0:27:570:28:01

'The medium's not the message. The messages are the media.'

0:28:010:28:05

Bruce?

0:28:130:28:14

We're always looking for ways to show how cutbacks across the media business has affected coverage.

0:28:140:28:20

Brian Stelter has come up with an unlikely one - coverage of the President of the United States.

0:28:200:28:25

When Obama travels to Buffalo today, there won't be a charter plane travelling with him.

0:28:250:28:29

Many of the networks have simply opted out of taking that very expensive ride,

0:28:290:28:33

and the reason is simply cost.

0:28:330:28:35

Uh, we'll call it "press".

0:28:360:28:39

Oh, good, my sources are starting to come out.

0:28:390:28:43

They're starting to wake up.

0:28:430:28:45

It's job number one for every DC bureau to follow the President and to travel with him on trips.

0:28:450:28:50

Lately there's been fewer and fewer of these White House planes that go with President Obama to events.

0:28:500:28:56

These guys are trying every day to save every dollar they can.

0:28:560:29:00

It's a demonstration of networks trying to do more with less. Or accepting you can only do less.

0:29:000:29:05

Sometimes that's the answer, is just doing less.

0:29:050:29:08

Is it 1,500 people on staff right now? 1,400.

0:29:080:29:12

Are you confirming that 300 and 400 number that's out there?

0:29:120:29:16

ABC's laying off 400 people.

0:29:160:29:18

CBS laid off 90 a few weeks ago. God, that is stunning.

0:29:180:29:22

20 to 25% of the staff they're trying to cut.

0:29:220:29:27

They're not just there to make sure the President doesn't choke on a chicken bone.

0:29:270:29:31

They're also there to corner people for interviews.

0:29:310:29:34

I think the other thing you have to do is nod

0:29:340:29:36

to what this is going to mean for coverage in the next few campaigns.

0:29:360:29:40

In the last election, because they couldn't afford to send out regular reporters,

0:29:400:29:44

they were sending out 24-year-olds with video cameras.

0:29:440:29:48

Somebody fell asleep and it never would have been caught

0:29:480:29:51

if they didn't have some kid with a video camera filming everything.

0:29:510:29:54

He's not going to make news today, no.

0:29:540:29:56

No, the last president who made news in Buffalo got shot.

0:29:560:30:00

Wasn't it McKinley?

0:30:000:30:01

Let's not put that one in the paper.

0:30:010:30:04

This is what is it. How do you cover the President on the cheap?

0:30:040:30:08

We've looked at every, I think, conceivable model

0:30:100:30:15

all the way from, you know, philanthropic, you know,

0:30:150:30:19

could you find a generous foundation that wants to underwrite The New York Times,

0:30:190:30:25

to memberships.

0:30:250:30:27

That's an extraordinary thing.

0:30:270:30:28

I mean, it used to be that newspapers almost gave themselves away.

0:30:280:30:32

They charged far less than the cost of printing the newspaper,

0:30:320:30:35

and they made up the difference in advertising.

0:30:350:30:38

The newspaper industry didn't see Monster.com taking the jobs portion away.

0:30:380:30:41

They didn't see Craigslist taking the classifieds portion away.

0:30:410:30:45

They didn't see Ford and GM making their own websites

0:30:450:30:47

to take automotive advertising away for ever.

0:30:470:30:50

We are now in the middle of a really unsettling time.

0:30:500:30:55

The question is whether newspaper advertising will return

0:30:550:30:58

at the same level.

0:30:580:30:59

Like a lot of companies in the industry,

0:30:590:31:01

this one found itself scrambling for its cash position.

0:31:010:31:05

The company borrowed 250 million from Carlos Slim

0:31:050:31:08

and executed a sale-leaseback of the building, which is like mortgaging the building.

0:31:080:31:13

Nobody wanted to make any predictions,

0:31:130:31:14

because the predictions they had been making had been so wrong.

0:31:140:31:18

Nobody was pessimistic enough.

0:31:180:31:19

There was just this sort of decades of organisational hubris

0:31:190:31:27

about, you know, our own excellence and our own dominance.

0:31:270:31:33

And then in a matter of, like, 18 months,

0:31:330:31:38

all of a sudden there was the air ionised the situation,

0:31:380:31:41

and everybody started, like, asking,

0:31:410:31:44

could The New York Times, like, go out of business?

0:31:440:31:48

It's trading for three bucks,

0:31:480:31:50

a Sunday paper costs more than a share of New York Times stock.

0:31:500:31:54

There has been, since the famous Atlantic, you know, Monthly story,

0:31:540:31:57

there has been open talk of, "What if The Times were to go away?"

0:31:570:32:00

You know, I don't pretend to be a seasoned business reporter,

0:32:000:32:04

but certainly looking at the numbers,

0:32:040:32:06

it did seem as if they were in some peril and that there certainly was a scenario

0:32:060:32:10

in which if they didn't act fast, that The Times could go into bankruptcy.

0:32:100:32:14

And so that's what I wrote.

0:32:140:32:16

I thought, "You horse's ass." I thought, you know,

0:32:160:32:19

"You don't know what you're talking about. You really don't."

0:32:190:32:22

I thought that that kind of article, for that to appear in The Atlantic,

0:32:220:32:25

that was just so stupid of The Atlantic.

0:32:250:32:27

I was actually pretty stunned at the reaction that piece had.

0:32:270:32:31

I just... I genuinely didn't expect

0:32:310:32:34

that people would be so shocked by it,

0:32:340:32:36

because it felt obvious to me.

0:32:360:32:38

Please. I mean, this is The New York Times we're talking about,

0:32:380:32:41

and I think that that kind of an article was both... I found it just dumb.

0:32:410:32:46

There's a collective denial about what is going on, and that newspapers are somehow special

0:32:460:32:52

and somehow they're public trusts and that they shouldn't fail,

0:32:520:32:57

and so therefore they won't fail.

0:32:570:33:00

And I think the disconnect between "shouldn't fail" and "can't fail"

0:33:000:33:03

is the thing that I'm trying to, like, blow up.

0:33:030:33:06

End Times is good. It's great.

0:33:200:33:22

People have been arguing that The New York Times should be put out of business ever since there was one.

0:33:220:33:28

So it's an old question, but one that has a great deal of salience for people. They like it.

0:33:280:33:35

I don't think it's an argument that will be very easily made,

0:33:350:33:38

and if it is, I'll vaporise whoever's making it.

0:33:380:33:41

I'd like to note that none of us are economists.

0:33:410:33:43

We're here not to talk about whether The Times is a viable institution or not,

0:33:430:33:47

talk about CPMs or prices on advertising.

0:33:470:33:51

We're here to talk about what would happen if The New York Times disappeared.

0:33:510:33:55

How many of you would be happy if The Times disappeared?

0:33:550:33:58

OK, so we have a sprinkling of hands.

0:33:580:34:00

We have probably 10 people voted for that.

0:34:000:34:03

And then how many of you would be disappointed or upset?

0:34:030:34:05

OK, wow. So...

0:34:050:34:07

Markos, I'm going to go to you first.

0:34:090:34:11

If The Times ceased to exist, how would you feel about it?

0:34:110:34:15

I think there's a perception

0:34:150:34:17

that a lot of people like me who are writing online

0:34:170:34:20

cheer the demise of traditional media outlets like The New York Times.

0:34:200:34:24

But people like me just want traditional media outlets to do their jobs,

0:34:240:34:28

to do what they're supposed to do.

0:34:280:34:30

The New York Times helped cheerlead our way into the war in Iraq with Judith Miller.

0:34:300:34:34

I think a lot of the decline in these media outlets

0:34:340:34:37

is because people have lost faith that those publications don't have ulterior motives or agendas.

0:34:370:34:42

People like me, I have an agenda, and I'm very clear about it.

0:34:420:34:46

But The New York Times, they try to be something better than that.

0:34:460:34:50

That's great, but here's the thing.

0:34:500:34:52

When you're making an argument about how we're always falling down on the job,

0:34:520:34:56

you're reaching back through five years of really important, good, hard reporting.

0:34:560:35:02

-We're on the ground in Afghanistan, Iraq.

-I'm not implying it's bad work.

0:35:020:35:06

I'm saying that to claim that because you're with The Times you have to be taken seriously,

0:35:060:35:10

I think that's dangerous.

0:35:100:35:12

It's that sort of implied credibility that The New York Times brings,

0:35:120:35:15

and that's how Judith Miller got away with her war,

0:35:150:35:18

pre-war coverage that helped get us into this war.

0:35:180:35:20

It's because, well, she works for The New York Times, so she has to be credible.

0:35:200:35:24

Judy Miller reported, quote...

0:35:240:35:26

The New York Times carried the unsubstantiated claims of those, including...

0:35:280:35:32

On the front page of the nation's paper of record,

0:35:320:35:35

The Times reported that

0:35:350:35:36

Saddam Hussein had launched a...

0:35:360:35:40

Weapons of mass destruction. Weapons of mass destruction.

0:35:400:35:44

The Times had reporters who were very much vulnerable.

0:35:440:35:47

There's a story in The New York Times this morning...

0:35:470:35:50

We read in The New York Times today a story that says that Saddam Hussein is closer...

0:35:500:35:54

They were trying to acquire certain high quality...

0:35:540:35:59

The Bush administration was helped by The New York Times.

0:35:590:36:02

If The New York Times thinks Saddam is on the precipice of mushroom clouds,

0:36:020:36:07

then there is really no debate.

0:36:070:36:09

Judy Miller was someone who was let loose on this story,

0:36:090:36:11

and there were not people there

0:36:110:36:14

who were given the power to rein her in,

0:36:140:36:16

and she clearly needed to be reined in.

0:36:160:36:19

Do you accept that your reporting was wrong?

0:36:190:36:23

Absolutely.

0:36:230:36:25

The handful of stories, about six or seven of them

0:36:250:36:28

that I did before the war were wrong,

0:36:280:36:33

and the intelligence information that I was accurately reporting was wrong.

0:36:330:36:38

I guess if your sources are wrong, you're going to be wrong.

0:36:390:36:43

But to say you got it wrong when your sources were wrong,

0:36:430:36:46

that, as your colleagues at The New York Times have said,

0:36:460:36:50

reduces your role as a journalist to no more than a stenographer.

0:36:500:36:52

No, on the contrary, I really reject that criticism.

0:36:520:36:56

We made errors in our coverage of the weapons of mass destruction.

0:36:560:37:00

We made them at the reporting level and at the editing level.

0:37:000:37:03

Does she tell the truth?

0:37:030:37:05

HE SWALLOWS

0:37:050:37:07

The New York Times can't have a reporter?

0:37:070:37:09

And we don't.

0:37:090:37:11

Anytime The Times fails on a serious scale

0:37:140:37:17

on a particular story, a big story...

0:37:170:37:20

there's a cost, there's a price to pay,

0:37:200:37:24

and certainly in recent years, you've heard people say,

0:37:240:37:27

"Well, I no longer need The Times. I can no longer trust The Times."

0:37:270:37:30

One more Jayson Blair or one more Judy Miller

0:37:300:37:33

and you're chipping away at this institution

0:37:330:37:35

that everyone is, sort of, desperate to protect.

0:37:350:37:37

I think, kind of, until Jayson Blair,

0:37:370:37:40

they were, kind of, impervious. They were Teflon.

0:37:400:37:42

The Jayson Blair incident was a real scandalous occasion.

0:37:420:37:45

The reporter was found to be reporting stories

0:37:450:37:47

at places where he was not actually there,

0:37:470:37:50

though the dateline would give indication that he was there,

0:37:500:37:53

taking stories and not even rewriting them,

0:37:530:37:55

written by other people at other newspapers.

0:37:550:37:57

He eventually got caught

0:37:570:37:58

because he plagiarised a story from someone

0:37:580:38:00

who had previously been a colleague of his at The Times.

0:38:000:38:04

Not only does he take and wind a rope around his neck

0:38:040:38:08

and, like, go jumping off a cliff, you know, right in plain sight,

0:38:080:38:12

but he ties it to our feet and tries to pull us off the cliff with him.

0:38:120:38:15

The minute they put it on the front page in that little box,

0:38:150:38:18

I still remember the day it came out,

0:38:180:38:19

Raines' reign was over.

0:38:190:38:21

This system is not set up to catch someone who sets out to lie

0:38:210:38:25

and to use every means at his or her disposal

0:38:250:38:28

to put false information into the paper.

0:38:280:38:31

You went from having Howell being the most successful editor,

0:38:310:38:35

not just in the history of The Times, in the history of newspapering,

0:38:350:38:38

to his being fired.

0:38:380:38:40

I'm delighted to announce Bill Keller

0:38:400:38:42

as our next executive editor.

0:38:420:38:44

I'm aiming to raise our ambitions higher than they've ever been.

0:38:460:38:49

When Bill came in, he was all about restoring trust after Howell Raines.

0:38:490:38:56

He was supposed to, sort of, get the ship back on course.

0:38:560:39:00

It just wasn't in the conversation that,

0:39:000:39:02

you know, there was going to be an economic crisis in journalism

0:39:020:39:06

and that's been the dominant event,

0:39:060:39:08

I think, if you asked him, on his watch.

0:39:080:39:11

'Darker times are ahead for the Gray Lady.

0:39:110:39:13

'The Times will resort to layoffs.

0:39:130:39:14

'The paper is looking to cut 100 jobs from its news staff

0:39:140:39:17

'by the end of the week.'

0:39:170:39:18

We're hearing that the layoffs are beginning today.

0:39:270:39:29

We now know how many people have opted to go voluntarily,

0:39:320:39:37

which means we know how many people we have to layoff.

0:39:370:39:40

In the immediate moment, we're in the middle of cutting 100 people

0:39:400:39:44

out of a staff of roughly 1,250.

0:39:440:39:46

We've spent a lot of time in the last couple of weeks going over lists,

0:39:460:39:51

trying to prioritise based on skills we can afford to lose.

0:39:510:39:55

We are not a specialised newspaper, we're a general interest newspaper

0:39:550:39:58

and we try to be excellent at everything from foreign coverage,

0:39:580:40:01

to education coverage, to arts, to sports.

0:40:010:40:04

You know, we're large, but there's not a lot of slack in the system.

0:40:040:40:07

I feel some days that, you know,

0:40:070:40:10

we should be symbolically wearing, you know, bloody butchers' smocks,

0:40:100:40:14

or something, around the newsroom.

0:40:140:40:16

It's such a...

0:40:160:40:17

kind of...

0:40:170:40:19

grim...undertaking.

0:40:190:40:22

'I was hired in 1977.'

0:40:230:40:27

When I was trying to get this job,

0:40:270:40:28

a job getting focus group asked me to write my own obituary

0:40:280:40:33

and since then, I've been the deputy editor of obituaries.

0:40:330:40:38

Hey, it's Claiborne Ray, the departing retiring person.

0:40:380:40:41

Should I come down through the freight elevator

0:40:410:40:44

or through the regular passenger elevator?

0:40:440:40:46

I came with the high hopes of staying for one year.

0:40:460:40:51

I've overstayed that by 20 years.

0:40:510:40:54

'We have to dump bodies overboard.'

0:40:570:41:00

They don't really have any choice.

0:41:000:41:02

We all got the packets in the mail.

0:41:020:41:05

There's something obviously dispiriting about getting a packet in the mail

0:41:050:41:09

that invites you to leave your job.

0:41:090:41:11

I almost feel like I don't know of everything that's going on

0:41:110:41:14

and I almost feel like I don't have a clear grasp

0:41:140:41:17

on the enormity of the situation.

0:41:170:41:20

'I decided not to press my luck.'

0:41:200:41:22

Nobody knows if there'll be a paper on paper in another five years.

0:41:220:41:26

Everybody is unbelievably pressured to do more than people are really humanly able to do.

0:41:260:41:31

I'm sorry to leave The Times.

0:41:330:41:36

There are a lot of unemployed people out there,

0:41:360:41:38

a lot of underemployed people and a lot of scared people

0:41:380:41:41

and I have to remind myself every day that I'm one of the lucky ones.

0:41:410:41:44

The main effect is just this insecurity that pervades the newspaper business.

0:41:440:41:49

The mood is so funereal.

0:41:490:41:50

For those of us who work in media,

0:41:540:41:56

life is a drumbeat of goodbye speeches

0:41:560:41:59

with sheet cakes and cheap sparkling wine.

0:41:590:42:02

That carnage has left behind an island of misfit toys,

0:42:020:42:06

like model trains whose cabooses have square wheels.

0:42:060:42:11

Sure, I've been fired in my day,

0:42:110:42:13

but always after I'd failed to show up at work like a normal person.

0:42:130:42:17

"Go to treatment," my editor at the magazine in Minneapolis would tell me,

0:42:170:42:20

"There's a bed waiting for you."

0:42:200:42:23

But at the tender age of 31,

0:42:230:42:24

I still had a year left before hitting rock bottom,

0:42:240:42:27

a year left of being that guy, the violent drug-snorting thug,

0:42:270:42:31

before I found my way to this guy,

0:42:310:42:33

the one with a family and a job at The New York Times.

0:42:330:42:36

One day I came over from The Twin Cities Reader, where I worked,

0:42:360:42:40

came over here to the Skyway Lounge and met my friend Phil.

0:42:400:42:45

Phil gave me a film canister full of coke and I was going to get a gram.

0:42:450:42:49

I went into the bathroom,

0:42:490:42:51

the cop hit the stall door that I was in

0:42:510:42:54

and said, "You roll a noisy joint, pal."

0:42:540:42:57

And he immediately put me up against the wall

0:42:570:43:00

and then walked me down the street this way

0:43:000:43:03

and up the block toward Nicollet Mall where his car was parked.

0:43:030:43:07

The interesting thing about that is that my father worked right in City Centre,

0:43:070:43:12

so I was being crab-walked in handcuffs past the shopping,

0:43:120:43:17

downtown shopping centre where my father worked.

0:43:170:43:20

It was another life.

0:43:200:43:23

It was another guy.

0:43:230:43:24

It's that guy.

0:43:260:43:27

Not very.

0:43:370:43:39

Look...

0:43:420:43:43

I'm afraid of guns...

0:43:430:43:46

and I'm afraid of bats.

0:43:460:43:49

I'm really not afraid of anything else.

0:43:490:43:51

It's an advantage of having lived a textured life.

0:43:510:43:54

I've been a single parent on welfare. This is nothing.

0:43:540:43:58

I was talking to John Hume and he said,

0:43:580:44:00

"Look, you didn't go to Afghanistan,

0:44:000:44:02

"you didn't turn into the great city hall columnist

0:44:020:44:05

"and you didn't set out to be a media reporter, but you are.

0:44:050:44:10

"And your story has arrived...

0:44:100:44:13

"and it behooves you to man up...

0:44:130:44:17

"show some sack...

0:44:170:44:19

"and cover it until it's done."

0:44:190:44:21

And I thought, "You know what? That's what I'm going to do."

0:44:210:44:24

Welcome, everyone, to another debate from Intelligence Squared.

0:44:260:44:29

We'll be debating this motion:

0:44:290:44:31

There will be winners and losers tonight

0:44:340:44:36

and you, the audience, will be our judges.

0:44:360:44:37

I work at The New York Times.

0:44:370:44:40

We have 17 million people that come to our website,

0:44:400:44:43

we put out 100 videos every month, we have 80 blogs -

0:44:430:44:47

we are fully engaged in the revolution.

0:44:470:44:49

The New York Times has dozens of bureaus all over the world

0:44:490:44:53

and we're going to toss that out, which IS the proposition,

0:44:530:44:56

toss that out...and kick back and see what Facebook turns up.

0:44:560:45:00

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:45:000:45:02

I don't think so.

0:45:020:45:04

What you're going to hear tonight

0:45:040:45:07

is that the media is necessary for the commonweal.

0:45:070:45:11

An informed citizenry is what this nation is about.

0:45:110:45:16

That is self-serving crap.

0:45:160:45:19

The New York Times is a good newspaper - sometimes.

0:45:200:45:25

The Washington Post is a good newspaper.

0:45:250:45:28

The LA Times, before it became a bad newspaper, was a good newspaper,

0:45:280:45:31

but after that, it's off the cliff.

0:45:310:45:34

It's oblivion.

0:45:340:45:35

The news business in this country is nothing to be proud of.

0:45:350:45:40

The media is a technology business.

0:45:400:45:43

That's what is. That's what it has always been.

0:45:430:45:46

Technology changes, the media changes.

0:45:460:45:49

Over time, the audience has switched to the web.

0:45:490:45:54

The audience that's worth a buck in print

0:45:540:45:57

is worth a dime and sometimes a penny on the web

0:45:570:46:01

because we end up competing oftentimes

0:46:010:46:05

against our own work aggregated.

0:46:050:46:07

Newser is a great-looking site and you might want to check it out.

0:46:070:46:11

Aggregates all manner of content.

0:46:110:46:15

But I wonder if Michael's really thought through,

0:46:150:46:17

"Get rid of mainstream media content."

0:46:170:46:20

OK.

0:46:200:46:21

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:46:210:46:22

Go ahead.

0:46:220:46:24

'There are a lot of websites,'

0:46:310:46:33

the core of their being very often, not all of them, but some,

0:46:330:46:38

is repurposed pieces by The Times...

0:46:380:46:41

with a sexier headline or a bigger picture

0:46:410:46:44

or bouncing off of Times reporting, commenting on Times reporting.

0:46:440:46:48

Places like Gawker,

0:46:480:46:49

they're going for what will feed that Googlebeast algorithm.

0:46:490:46:54

They'll go to feed the hits.

0:46:540:46:56

And how we build a really rich media environment

0:46:560:47:00

where you don't lose coverage of statehouses,

0:47:000:47:03

of Congress is a question.

0:47:030:47:05

The big board is anathema to anyone at The Times

0:47:170:47:21

or any other traditional daily newspaper.

0:47:210:47:24

It's a list of 10 stories from our sites

0:47:240:47:27

on a big television screen,

0:47:270:47:29

which are at that very moment getting the most buzz,

0:47:290:47:33

being distributed and passed around on the web.

0:47:330:47:36

It's our equivalent of the front page.

0:47:360:47:39

It's the most visible manifestation of a writer's success.

0:47:390:47:41

We've always been very much focused on stories that our readers want.

0:47:410:47:46

We're not trying to force-feed them,

0:47:460:47:47

we're trying to give them what they want.

0:47:470:47:49

I have a friend who's at the Albany bureau of The Times.

0:47:490:47:54

I told him about the big board, sent him a picture of it

0:47:540:47:58

and, "How do you like our new innovation?"

0:47:580:48:00

He was terrified.

0:48:000:48:02

Albany corruption stories

0:48:020:48:03

they may be important to cover, but no-one really wants to read them.

0:48:030:48:07

The future is to be found elsewhere.

0:48:070:48:09

It's a linked economy, it's search engines, it's online advertising,

0:48:090:48:14

it's citizen journalism,

0:48:140:48:15

and if you can't find your way to that,

0:48:150:48:17

then you just can't find your way.

0:48:170:48:20

There's nobody covering the cop shop,

0:48:200:48:22

nobody covering the zoning board.

0:48:220:48:24

The day I run into a Huffington Post reporter

0:48:240:48:26

at a Baltimore zoning board hearing is the day that I will...

0:48:260:48:29

I was not around when the printing press was invented,

0:48:290:48:32

but if I were around I would imagine that the people dealing with stone tablets

0:48:320:48:37

would be making a similar argument.

0:48:370:48:39

There's no way that I can think of that you can have a BUSINESS MODEL,

0:48:390:48:43

you know, one that makes a profit for investigative reporting.

0:48:430:48:47

'ProPublica, a very interesting model.'

0:48:520:48:55

Part of its formula is pairing with legacy media

0:48:550:48:58

to get its information out in the most effective way.

0:48:580:49:02

Everything we do goes on our website,

0:49:020:49:04

but for our biggest stories, we get a CNN, a 60 Minutes,

0:49:040:49:08

a New York Times to work with us.

0:49:080:49:11

You know, I was 25, 26 years at The Journal,

0:49:120:49:15

we were absolutely rolling in money.

0:49:150:49:18

Why should you open yourself to some story

0:49:180:49:21

that you didn't know where it had been?

0:49:210:49:23

Who knows what kind of germs that had gotten on it?

0:49:230:49:25

People are open to new ways of working

0:49:250:49:28

because the world has changed.

0:49:280:49:30

There's a hybrid model here

0:49:300:49:32

and I do think journalism is a public good

0:49:320:49:34

and if it's a public good, then that requires a whole new mindset

0:49:340:49:39

about how you support journalism.

0:49:390:49:42

1,000 bloggers all talking to each other

0:49:420:49:46

doesn't get you a report from a war zone.

0:49:460:49:49

Somebody's gotta take a real risk.

0:49:490:49:50

There's gotta be some infrastructure and some pay,

0:49:500:49:53

and they've gotta go and gather that news originally.

0:49:530:49:57

A lot of the people in the Baghdad bureau were moving to Kabul

0:49:590:50:02

and they asked if there was anybody who wanted to volunteer for Baghdad,

0:50:020:50:06

and so I'm going to Iraq.

0:50:060:50:08

He's done all these stories on media companies

0:50:100:50:12

and, you know, capital cases and death row

0:50:120:50:15

and Tim is just one of the guys who wants answers to really basic questions

0:50:150:50:18

and I think once you've got that you're curious about all kinds of things.

0:50:180:50:22

Iraq is kind of off people's radar screens here,

0:50:220:50:25

but we still have 120,000 soldiers there and it's a real crucial point

0:50:250:50:29

in terms of seeing what the last chapter is for our country there.

0:50:290:50:34

The locals who have worked for us,

0:50:390:50:40

some have been killed and kidnapped and,

0:50:400:50:42

and, yeah, I worry about that.

0:50:420:50:45

But that's something he wants to do and...

0:50:450:50:48

You know...

0:50:490:50:51

kind of just hope he'll be OK.

0:50:510:50:53

Cheers, to your good health.

0:50:590:51:02

Did they tell you what they want you to do?

0:51:020:51:04

I mean, there's no beats, it's just do the day's stories and...

0:51:040:51:09

settle in with the Iraqi staff and write stories, you know.

0:51:090:51:12

For the beginning, it's going to be the election.

0:51:120:51:14

You had covered a bunch of other conflicts, right?

0:51:140:51:16

Civil wars and conflicts in Africa.

0:51:160:51:18

Somalia, a lot of time in Somalia.

0:51:180:51:20

I did a tour in Yugoslavia when all that was going on.

0:51:200:51:23

Oh, really?

0:51:230:51:24

The only advice they give is just fall into this well-run machine

0:51:240:51:26

that's been going on for seven years and you'll figure it out.

0:51:260:51:29

As you may well know, I expect you to be on TV in a week,

0:51:290:51:33

"Those of us who have been covering this for a while."

0:51:330:51:35

"Those of us who have been here for two days think..."

0:51:350:51:39

Been a privilege to work with you. Come back real soon.

0:52:000:52:03

-Thanks for the kind words.

-Cheers!

-Stay safe.

0:52:030:52:06

It is a history, it is an enormous compendium of material

0:52:230:52:27

that will affect many different people in different ways.

0:52:270:52:31

There has been a massive leak.

0:52:310:52:32

There are so many pages of military secrets now public.

0:52:320:52:36

Some of the documents rip the cover off the US-led war effort in Afghanistan.

0:52:360:52:41

Unexplained American deaths, questionable battlefield tactics

0:52:410:52:44

and a mission just not going that well.

0:52:440:52:47

'WikiLeaks released 91,000 raw military documents online,

0:52:470:52:51

'but this time also to three traditional news organisations

0:52:510:52:54

'including The New York Times, which vetted the material,

0:52:540:52:57

'it said, eliminating information that could put lives at risk.'

0:52:570:53:00

Well, I think it was an important moment

0:53:000:53:02

that WikiLeaks chose to go through the Guardian, Der Spiegel

0:53:020:53:05

and The New York Times.

0:53:050:53:07

In a sense they were detoxifying the information that they had,

0:53:070:53:10

and they were giving it a little more veracity.

0:53:100:53:14

What Julian Assange realised

0:53:140:53:16

is that going through The Times, and Spiegel, and the Guardian

0:53:160:53:20

would actually have a greater impact. He was right.

0:53:200:53:23

We, as a journalistic group,

0:53:230:53:26

the four media groups who worked on this,

0:53:260:53:28

have really only just scratched the surface.

0:53:280:53:30

We've treated them as an advocacy organisation,

0:53:360:53:39

but we're partnered with them.

0:53:390:53:42

Are we partnered?

0:53:420:53:43

I think they're a source.

0:53:430:53:45

But they're a publisher.

0:53:450:53:47

I think they're more like a source than, well, you're right.

0:53:470:53:50

He's not our media partner. He's not our collaborator.

0:53:500:53:52

He's a source like any other source giving us access to documents.

0:53:520:53:56

They can be a source when they're a publisher.

0:53:560:53:58

I think that's very clear.

0:53:580:53:59

-We're all in this together.

-But you wonder about the negotiations,

0:53:590:54:02

when they come and say, "You can have this,

0:54:020:54:04

"but we're going to give it to other papers, and you guys are all going to hold hands."

0:54:040:54:08

Where we say, "But we are The New York Times," and they say,

0:54:080:54:12

"But we have all this and we are dictating terms."

0:54:120:54:15

You can say that and then can you turn around and say,

0:54:150:54:17

"By the way, The New York Times never should have done this"?

0:54:170:54:20

I really am appalled by the leak, condemn the leak.

0:54:200:54:24

There is potential there to put American lives at risk.

0:54:240:54:28

Do you believe there should be an investigation into whether The New York Times broke laws?

0:54:280:54:31

I'm not calling for prosecution of The Times,

0:54:310:54:35

but I think they're guilty of bad citizenship.

0:54:350:54:38

The basic calculus that you try to do in your head

0:54:380:54:42

is the trade-off between the obligation, really,

0:54:420:54:45

to give people information about how they're being governed

0:54:450:54:48

and on the other hand, the...

0:54:480:54:50

government's legitimate need for secrecy.

0:54:500:54:54

I've had a dozen of these instances

0:54:540:54:57

where we had classified information

0:54:570:54:59

and had to decide whether or not to publish it

0:54:590:55:02

or publish it with some parts of it withheld.

0:55:020:55:05

Officials at the White House asked us to communicate to WikiLeaks

0:55:050:55:09

their strong exhortation that WikiLeaks redact the documents

0:55:090:55:13

and take out the names of people who might be identified and put in danger.

0:55:130:55:17

And we passed that along.

0:55:170:55:19

The oddest thing in the story, you saw, was that The Times said

0:55:190:55:22

that the White House asked them to lobby WikiLeaks not to print things.

0:55:220:55:25

-Yes.

-Which is really odd.

-Like, "You're the White House, can't you call WikiLeaks?"

0:55:250:55:28

But also we're The New York Times...

0:55:280:55:30

"It's 1,800 WikiLeaks."

0:55:300:55:32

'The supposedly private cables detail everything,

0:55:410:55:44

'from security threats to diplomatic dirty laundry.

0:55:440:55:47

'There are unflattering views of key allies...'

0:55:470:55:50

'It's the largest release of diplomatic correspondence ever...'

0:55:500:55:53

'From highly encrypted telegrams to email messages,

0:55:530:55:56

'to raw, unfiltered analysis from embassies and consulates...'

0:55:560:56:00

I'm still getting messages from people who think that I'm a treasonous son of a bitch

0:56:010:56:06

and I'm getting some from people

0:56:060:56:08

who think that Julian Assange is the messiah

0:56:080:56:11

and why did I not treat him as such?

0:56:110:56:14

Many of the media outlets who had been partnered with WikiLeaks

0:56:140:56:18

now find themselves trying to figure out

0:56:180:56:21

whether this guy is a villain or a hero.

0:56:210:56:26

It would be great if people got past the debate over WikiLeaks

0:56:260:56:29

and the disclosures, and looked closely at what these are,

0:56:290:56:31

which is a real-time history of the US relationship with some very important countries.

0:56:310:56:37

It is one of the biggest journalistic scoops

0:56:370:56:39

in the past 30 years

0:56:390:56:40

and the fact that The Times made it their front page for weeks

0:56:400:56:43

shows that, even as all these papers are becoming a shadow of their former selves,

0:56:430:56:48

The Times is still in the game

0:56:480:56:51

and very much leading the game at this point.

0:56:510:56:53

'Maybe newspapers are going to have to supplement using WikiLeaks to get their news.

0:56:530:56:57

'It's unclear what the model is,'

0:56:570:56:59

but I think it's a sign though of openness at the paper

0:56:590:57:02

that there are many more sources.

0:57:020:57:04

In a lot of ways it's a very positive step,

0:57:040:57:06

even though it definitely is coming at the cost of a contracting traditional newsroom.

0:57:060:57:10

Like the Chinese say, it's a very interesting time.

0:57:100:57:12

It's kind of a curse, but it's also a blessing.

0:57:120:57:14

Especially if you're a journalist,

0:57:140:57:16

you should want there to be interesting things going on,

0:57:160:57:18

even if it is also a curse.

0:57:180:57:21

New York Times.

0:57:230:57:25

Get your New York Times!

0:57:250:57:27

Come on, check it out. Check it out.

0:57:270:57:29

Good morning, New York Times?

0:57:290:57:31

New York Times, 2.

0:57:310:57:34

The New York Times announced today that it's going to start charging for access to its website.

0:57:340:57:38

The system they're going to adopt says

0:57:380:57:40

anybody who comes to the site who's not a paying subscriber

0:57:400:57:43

can look at X number of articles free

0:57:430:57:45

and then when you reach X+1 you'll get a message saying

0:57:450:57:48

if you want to keep going, you've got to pay.

0:57:480:57:50

The design of The Times pay wall comes THIS close to the NPR model,

0:57:500:57:55

which is to go to the people who care most about The Times

0:57:550:57:57

and say, "You and us, we're partners. We're keeping this thing afloat."

0:57:570:58:01

"As of today you've lost a daily reader.

0:58:010:58:03

"If they start charging, I'll change this away from my homepage."

0:58:030:58:07

This was a college friend of mine.

0:58:070:58:09

"I want to pay, but I'm not willing to pay

0:58:090:58:11

"for information I can easily find elsewhere.

0:58:110:58:13

"Sorry, New York Times, freedom of information."

0:58:130:58:16

I worry about people like that who have grown up...

0:58:160:58:19

in that era where everything was free,

0:58:190:58:21

or everything SEEMED free. It's never free, but...

0:58:210:58:25

The economics of this business have always been that

0:58:250:58:27

it required both advertising and payment from the reader

0:58:270:58:31

and for the last 15 years on the internet,

0:58:310:58:33

we've sort of pretended that that wasn't true.

0:58:330:58:36

This is the end of pretending.

0:58:360:58:37

They find it through you, they click through, through you,

0:58:370:58:40

they come up with the story, which is currently free.

0:58:400:58:44

So they're still not getting paid for it.

0:58:440:58:46

There's usually advertisements on the page when they land there.

0:58:460:58:49

In many cases, I don't think they're getting that advertising revenue

0:58:490:58:53

and it certainly isn't covering the cost of doing business.

0:58:530:58:57

My view is that it's still very early and that...

0:58:570:59:00

When you say it's early, it's not early for The Denver Post or The Seattle Intelligencer,

0:59:000:59:04

or a bunch of folks who are facing bankruptcy today.

0:59:040:59:06

Information historically was not free.

0:59:060:59:09

You had to pay for it in one way or another.

0:59:090:59:11

I think what The Times says,

0:59:110:59:13

"This is what it's worth to read our newspaper every month,"

0:59:130:59:18

will go a long way to establishing what people feel they can charge,

0:59:180:59:21

or maybe what they can't charge.

0:59:210:59:22

It's actually kind of a big day in the newspaper business

0:59:220:59:25

and some people may date this,

0:59:250:59:27

you know, this is the day the whole thing died. We'll find out.

0:59:270:59:31

People who make prescriptions,

0:59:310:59:32

"They should go do a pay wall, not do a pay wall,

0:59:320:59:34

"put it all on iPad, kill the paper product," they're being naive.

0:59:340:59:37

They have no idea about

0:59:370:59:39

the economics of running a legacy print newspaper business

0:59:390:59:42

and trying to build an online news business.

0:59:420:59:44

You better hope they figure it out because you got like 40 years to go.

0:59:440:59:48

Whereas if we got our heads chopped off...

0:59:480:59:52

we only have to figure out, what, 15 more years?

0:59:520:59:56

Well, fuck that!

0:59:560:59:57

THEY LAUGH

0:59:570:59:58

I think I got a lot longer to go than that.

0:59:581:00:02

-Really?!

-My working life or my life or my life life?

1:00:021:00:04

-How old are you?

-46.

1:00:041:00:07

Somebody's going to tap you on the shoulder here at 62, 63,

1:00:081:00:12

and say, "That was great.

1:00:121:00:15

"Thanks a lot. Your sheet cake's over there."

1:00:151:00:17

-"Turn in your tablet."

-Turn in your tablet.

1:00:171:00:21

We call it...

1:00:211:00:23

the iPad.

1:00:231:00:24

APPLAUSE

1:00:241:00:26

I got a glimpse of the future

1:00:281:00:30

this last weekend with the iPad.

1:00:301:00:33

It may well be, you know, the saving of the newspaper industry.

1:00:331:00:38

Even if the cost is the end of newspapers as we know it?

1:00:381:00:40

Well, it's better than them going out of business altogether.

1:00:401:00:44

Why are media companies so excited about a tablet?

1:00:441:00:46

Well, they see it as this, they see it as that.

1:00:461:00:49

And then the question becomes, well,

1:00:491:00:51

lots of people think Apple saved the music business.

1:00:511:00:53

But they didn't save it on the music business's terms.

1:00:531:00:56

Lots of people in the music business say it's punishing dealing with those guys.

1:00:561:01:00

Like, "Yeah, they're my best friend. See this? It's a leash."

1:01:001:01:04

What makes anybody think it'll be different for publishers?

1:01:041:01:07

That's why I wonder if we'll end up screwing ourselves.

1:01:071:01:10

CROWD: ..Six, five, four, three,

1:01:111:01:14

two, one.

1:01:141:01:15

CHEERING

1:01:151:01:18

It's amazing to be able to cover this, cos I think in five years,

1:01:261:01:30

this could be, like, how computers are.

1:01:301:01:33

But it's a little bit scary down there, actually. I'm walking out and people are like, "Congratulations!"

1:01:331:01:38

It's like I just had a kid or I just had twins or something.

1:01:381:01:41

You know, I just bought a... I just bought a computer.

1:01:411:01:45

Is that a bridge to the future?

1:01:451:01:47

Or...oh, wait, it's a gallows!

1:01:471:01:50

Ow!

1:01:501:01:51

Right there's the dream come true.

1:01:531:01:56

Let's see you navigate. Mm, sweet.

1:02:001:02:02

That is a great reading experience right there.

1:02:021:02:05

-You know what it reminds me of?

-What?

-A newspaper.

1:02:051:02:09

People including me are probably silly to think, you know,

1:02:091:02:13

Steve Jobs is riding over the hill like cavalry

1:02:131:02:15

to save the media industry.

1:02:151:02:18

He's driving Apple's stock price.

1:02:181:02:20

And we may have business in common.

1:02:201:02:23

And that Venn diagram of interests is their interests versus our interests.

1:02:231:02:27

That's sort of where the story is.

1:02:271:02:29

I have a lot of great background conversations,

1:02:451:02:48

but I've got to move people onto the record.

1:02:481:02:50

Think of what you might be able to say to me.

1:02:501:02:52

All right, man. Thanks. Bye-bye.

1:02:521:02:55

You know, you could say being at The New York Times

1:03:011:03:04

is a big advantage.

1:03:041:03:06

You know, it kinda scares people when you call them.

1:03:061:03:09

And I also think I sound sort of weird on the phone.

1:03:101:03:14

And it's like...

1:03:141:03:17

Well, do you have time to talk to me?

1:03:171:03:19

Great.

1:03:201:03:22

Um, how long did you work at the Trib?

1:03:221:03:25

It's a big story that hasn't really been told

1:03:271:03:29

in this kind of comprehensive way.

1:03:291:03:31

The biggest media bankruptcy in history,

1:03:311:03:34

billions and billions of dollars just evaporated,

1:03:341:03:37

a lot of people lost their jobs.

1:03:371:03:38

The people there are still doing, you know, excellent work,

1:03:381:03:42

but it's under very difficult circumstances

1:03:421:03:45

from people who manifestly do not respect what they do.

1:03:451:03:49

Sam Zell, when he came in, was somebody

1:03:521:03:55

with no experience running a company like this.

1:03:551:03:58

No news experience. In fact, a fair bit of contempt

1:03:581:04:00

for sort of traditional ideas of journalism.

1:04:001:04:03

My attitude on journalism is very simple.

1:04:051:04:07

I want to make enough money so I can afford you.

1:04:071:04:10

It's really that simple, OK? You need to in effect help me

1:04:101:04:15

by being a journalist that focuses on what our readers want.

1:04:151:04:19

I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

1:04:241:04:25

I can't, you know, you're giving me the classic

1:04:251:04:29

what I would call journalistic arrogance.

1:04:291:04:32

You know, people inside just get dispirited

1:04:321:04:34

because the company's being run by these people

1:04:341:04:37

who just don't share their values.

1:04:371:04:39

Hopefully we get to the point where our revenue

1:04:391:04:41

is so significant that we can do puppies and Iraq, OK?

1:04:411:04:45

APPLAUSE

1:04:451:04:48

Sam Zell wanted to put Randy Michaels, whom he knew

1:04:491:04:52

from the radio business, in charge of Tribune Company.

1:04:521:04:55

Michaels came in, and one of the first things he worked on

1:04:551:04:58

was rewriting the company's ethics policy

1:04:581:05:00

to basically say, "We're going to be in a much more permissive atmosphere,

1:05:001:05:04

"and it's going to be creative and there'll be things that offend you."

1:05:041:05:08

You know what's important to those who buy advertising?

1:05:081:05:11

Not the agencies, but the people who write the cheques.

1:05:111:05:14

They want to move product. They want the cash register to ring.

1:05:141:05:17

They want butts in seats.

1:05:171:05:18

Some people are like, "We need something,

1:05:181:05:21

"so this could be as good as any."

1:05:211:05:23

I mean, it's a kind of...

1:05:231:05:24

you know, it's a sort of crazy Hail Mary pass.

1:05:241:05:27

So these guys come in, bought the company.

1:05:271:05:29

This is how they behaved. This is the result.

1:05:291:05:32

This company, they drove it into bankruptcy.

1:05:321:05:35

Randy Michaels and a handpicked crew of 20 people

1:05:351:05:38

who he's known a long, long time, have extracted

1:05:381:05:41

something like 100 million in bonuses.

1:05:411:05:43

You could call that incentives or you could call that looting,

1:05:431:05:47

depending on your perspective.

1:05:471:05:49

Yeah, let's just quit typing altogether

1:05:501:05:52

and just talk us girls for a minute.

1:05:521:05:55

I have certain memos about behaviour of the executives there,

1:05:551:05:58

and I just want to make sure that they're true.

1:05:581:06:00

In this memo that was sent to the board,

1:06:001:06:04

there's an incident described where Randy Michaels

1:06:041:06:07

"talked openly and loudly about other women's breasts, sex toys...

1:06:071:06:12

"not just in closed rooms with other executives, but openly..."

1:06:121:06:15

"He wrote the employee handbook so that kind of talk

1:06:151:06:18

"wasn't against the rules." Does that all sound right?

1:06:181:06:23

I was mostly doing the bankruptcy stuff,

1:06:231:06:25

and then I saw those poker pictures

1:06:251:06:27

and I thought "It seems more like a radio station in the 1970s

1:06:271:06:31

"than a great big media company."

1:06:311:06:33

LAUGHTER

1:06:361:06:38

Don't you think that would sell?

1:06:381:06:40

So I cold-called a person from Trib Co,

1:06:411:06:43

and he lays them out flat -

1:06:431:06:46

who they were, what they did, etc, all on the record. My first of that.

1:06:461:06:50

-Yeah.

-I'm doing two more weeks of reporting, and then I'm going to take a week

1:06:501:06:54

to write it and show it to you.

1:06:541:06:55

Tonight at 6.30, NBC will be driving in the convoy

1:07:061:07:10

with the last combat troops as they cross back into Kuwait.

1:07:101:07:13

I don't think we know much about it.

1:07:131:07:15

We're not on the embed, partly because we think it's a PR stunt.

1:07:151:07:18

What do you make of the notion

1:07:181:07:20

that they're trying to choreograph an exit here?

1:07:201:07:22

In my mind, it'd be easy just to fly these trucks out.

1:07:221:07:25

They've been flying trucks out for months.

1:07:251:07:27

But the fact that they want to drive across the desert

1:07:271:07:30

and bring reporters with them, what does that indicate to you?

1:07:301:07:33

That's perfect.

1:07:521:07:54

So let's get started, please, with media.

1:07:581:08:02

The final fighting brigade

1:08:021:08:04

in the war is going to be crossing the border

1:08:041:08:06

into Kuwait, as I understand it,

1:08:061:08:08

and there's embeds with The Washington Post there,

1:08:081:08:11

the LA Times, NBC. We're watching to see if this is some sort of end of the war as we know it.

1:08:111:08:16

But it's complicated.

1:08:171:08:19

If this is just some photo op,

1:08:191:08:21

I get no sense that this is coming from the administration

1:08:211:08:24

or that it's coming from, you know, the military.

1:08:241:08:27

It just seems to be...so far, I get the sense it's only coming from NBC

1:08:271:08:31

and the other embeds.

1:08:311:08:34

What we won't be able to predict, obviously, is what the Post

1:08:461:08:49

-and the LA Times will be doing with it.

-Right.

1:08:491:08:52

Is anybody - is the White House, is the military -

1:08:521:08:55

who is saying this is the end of combat troops in Iraq?

1:08:551:08:58

NBC is saying that the military will say that.

1:08:581:09:02

They are saying, NBC is saying they will declare it.

1:09:021:09:04

In other words, NBC will declare it tonight.

1:09:041:09:08

-As far as I know, NBC isn't actually at war in the Middle East.

-I know.

1:09:081:09:12

But how come...

1:09:121:09:13

-That's why the White House sent their email.

-Have I seen this anywhere?

-No, it's under embargo.

1:09:131:09:18

It's secret. We're not allowed to talk about it.

1:09:181:09:21

-When does the embargo break?

-Hopefully 6.30.

1:09:211:09:23

OK, guys, thank you very much.

1:09:231:09:25

OK, bye-bye.

1:09:251:09:28

Good evening. It's gone on longer than the Civil War, longer than World War II.

1:09:351:09:40

Tonight, US combat troops are pulling out of Iraq.

1:09:401:09:43

Richard, I understand that your reporting of this

1:09:431:09:46

at this hour tonight constitutes

1:09:461:09:48

the official Pentagon announcement, correct?

1:09:481:09:50

Yes, it is. Right now, we are with the last American combat troops.

1:09:501:09:55

We are with the...

1:09:551:09:56

-Did you watch NBC?

-Yeah.

-I thought it was hallucinatory.

1:09:591:10:03

Brian Williams says to Richard Engel "Your report here from the field

1:10:031:10:07

"amounts to the official Pentagon announcement

1:10:071:10:10

"of the end of combat troops in Iraq."

1:10:101:10:12

And there is no Pentagon announcement.

1:10:121:10:15

I mean, I'm going over territory you already know.

1:10:151:10:18

But let me back up. We're trying to figure out if...

1:10:181:10:21

I don't know that there was... I'm not trying to be difficult.

1:10:211:10:24

Was there some sort of official...?

1:10:241:10:26

Thom Shanker in Washington is right now calling the Pentagon again.

1:10:261:10:29

If I weren't thinking about this every day,

1:10:291:10:32

I would look at this and think, "What just happened?"

1:10:321:10:35

-I mean...

-You would think, "Is the war over and I missed it?"

-Yeah.

1:10:351:10:38

We heard from Shanker, who talked to the Pentagon, and he said there was no official anything today.

1:10:381:10:43

-What's going on?

-If you were watching NBC Nightly News,

1:10:431:10:46

you'd have thought there was a big ceremony

1:10:461:10:48

of some kind to commemorate the final end of combat operations.

1:10:481:10:51

PHONE RINGS

1:10:511:10:52

-That's news to the Pentagon.

-Hi, it's Ian.

1:10:521:10:55

Did Thom specifically ask the Pentagon guy, "Did you see NBC?"

1:10:551:10:59

This is making everyone here completely insane.

1:10:591:11:02

Look, I mean we could do the "there was a made for TV" moment.

1:11:021:11:05

I don't know whether we even need to... I'll leave that to you.

1:11:051:11:09

But I'm not sure it even wants to turn the knife a little bit.

1:11:091:11:12

The Pentagon or somebody's calling this mission, that is the mission

1:11:121:11:16

to drive across the border, "The Last Patrol".

1:11:161:11:19

So there's something going on.

1:11:191:11:20

The White House has been fucking saying it's at the end of the month.

1:11:241:11:27

"The White House spokesman immediately sent an email saying it's at the end of the month."

1:11:271:11:32

How do you cover the end of a war that's not ending?

1:11:321:11:35

-Right, exactly.

-I mean, even wars that end badly

1:11:351:11:37

end up with, like, helicopters leaving the Saigon roof.

1:11:371:11:40

This isn't even going to be that.

1:11:401:11:42

I think that story should be written. I do. I think you're right.

1:11:421:11:45

I don't think tonight is the night to write it.

1:11:451:11:47

Let me start to get something ready,

1:11:471:11:49

and let's talk again in half an hour.

1:11:491:11:51

So I think we're all standing around trying to figure out

1:11:531:11:57

whether this is a real story or a media story,

1:11:571:11:59

which isn't very flattering to media reporters, is it?

1:11:591:12:02

"Stand down, we think it's actually something happening."

1:12:021:12:05

No, we're not going to write anything.

1:12:051:12:08

There's still 56,000 in Iraq,

1:12:081:12:10

and the AP notes correctly that all of them are combat troops

1:12:101:12:14

until they're redesignated otherwise,

1:12:141:12:16

which hasn't actually happened.

1:12:161:12:18

I'm only wondering if...

1:12:181:12:20

are our betters going to come in tomorrow and say,

1:12:201:12:24

"Gee, everybody covered this but us"?

1:12:241:12:26

Uh, there appears to be no indication that way.

1:12:261:12:28

All right. Good.

1:12:281:12:30

So I think we're all right.

1:12:301:12:32

I'm going to wear my combat helmet just in case.

1:12:321:12:36

The function of reporting and the press is the best obtainable version of the truth.

1:12:361:12:42

We're not out there

1:12:421:12:44

to bring down governments. We're not out there to be prosecutors.

1:12:441:12:47

We're out there to be judicious, not judicial.

1:12:471:12:50

And that's really what happened in Watergate.

1:12:501:12:54

In recent months, members of my administration

1:12:541:12:58

have been charged with involvement

1:12:581:13:00

in what has come to be known as the Watergate Affair.

1:13:001:13:03

We began covering the Watergate story

1:13:031:13:05

the day after there was a break-in at Democratic headquarters,

1:13:051:13:08

and we continued to cover it for more than two years.

1:13:081:13:11

In the first year,

1:13:111:13:13

we wrote more than 100 stories.

1:13:131:13:16

The story was not one dam breaking.

1:13:161:13:18

It was story after story after story, and it was

1:13:181:13:20

pretty much owned by The Washington Post.

1:13:201:13:23

REPORTER: In the House of Representatives,

1:13:231:13:25

there is no member left who thinks the President won't be impeached.

1:13:251:13:29

It really pains me to say it. I grew up with The Washington Post,

1:13:291:13:32

and you can't say that the diminishment of that paper,

1:13:321:13:38

in terms of its scale of its staff

1:13:381:13:40

and its ambitions, haven't affected it.

1:13:401:13:42

You'd be kidding yourself to say it's just trimmed some fat.

1:13:421:13:46

No, economic circumstances have made it a lesser paper.

1:13:461:13:49

If that were to happen to The New York Times,

1:13:491:13:52

that would be a terrible tragedy.

1:13:521:13:55

You know, I get the Twitter feeds

1:13:591:14:01

and read the blogs about how media

1:14:011:14:03

will or won't fare in the digital age.

1:14:031:14:07

But sometimes they seem to have it all boiled down to an aphorism.

1:14:071:14:10

I'm not sure that I can boil it all down to a sort of "a-ha".

1:14:101:14:14

But I do think

1:14:151:14:16

there's a growing sense

1:14:161:14:18

of how much it would matter if The Times weren't here.

1:14:181:14:21

News organisations that deploy resources

1:14:211:14:24

to really gather information are essential

1:14:241:14:26

to a functioning democracy.

1:14:261:14:28

It just...it just doesn't work if people don't know.

1:14:281:14:31

When you read The New York Times today,

1:14:331:14:36

in the business section, you will see

1:14:361:14:38

the obituary of the newspaper industry.

1:14:381:14:41

Jesus, what a bunch of pussies!

1:14:411:14:44

I'm not a newspaper guy.

1:14:441:14:45

I'm a businessman.

1:14:461:14:48

It's really important to remember

1:14:541:14:56

that the consequences of this bankruptcy did not just fall

1:14:561:15:00

on the employees at the Tribune Company.

1:15:001:15:03

In Los Angeles, in Chicago, in Hartford, in Baltimore,

1:15:031:15:07

the diminution of those newspapers crippled or destroyed

1:15:071:15:11

important community civic assets.

1:15:111:15:14

Well, it's going to be a pretty rugged story

1:15:151:15:19

and I want it to be fair,

1:15:191:15:21

which is why I'm calling you. I mean,

1:15:211:15:25

if you want me to characterise the overall story, what I would say

1:15:251:15:28

is that this was an overleveraged company

1:15:281:15:31

that Mr Zell operated into bankruptcy,

1:15:311:15:33

handed this kind of flaming baton off to Mr Michaels.

1:15:331:15:37

Michaels brought in

1:15:371:15:39

guys from his career in radio to help them out.

1:15:391:15:43

Overall, a lot of people lost a lot of money.

1:15:431:15:46

Employees are out of contributions.

1:15:461:15:49

'This sounds like it's going to be a top to bottom hatchet job.'

1:15:491:15:52

Where is the hatchet? I don't...

1:15:521:15:56

if there's a counter-narrative, um, I'm happy to talk about it.

1:15:561:16:01

If there's a heroic narrative, I'm happy to talk about it.

1:16:011:16:05

We haven't even gotten into the cultural issues,

1:16:051:16:09

which I'm sure are not going to please you much at all.

1:16:091:16:11

Let's cut to something a little more hard and fast.

1:16:111:16:14

On December 11th, 2008,

1:16:141:16:16

your board received a letter, it was anonymous,

1:16:161:16:20

alleging a broad pattern of sexual harassment.

1:16:201:16:23

-BLEEP

-had received oral sex on the 22nd floor balcony.

1:16:231:16:28

-She also added that in a meeting,

-BLEEP

-suggested

1:16:281:16:32

that her assistant come in and perform a sexual act on him

1:16:321:16:36

to cheer him up.

1:16:361:16:38

This is not 1977. This is 2010, and those kinds of things

1:16:381:16:44

are material for the people that work there.

1:16:441:16:47

It created a work environment that people say

1:16:471:16:50

is closer to a frat house than a frontline media company.

1:16:501:16:54

So that's in there.

1:16:541:16:56

5,459.

1:16:561:16:58

Well, that's not going to happen.

1:16:581:17:01

He's got probably 6,000 words of good stuff.

1:17:011:17:04

Every editor and writer thinks they've good stuff,

1:17:041:17:07

but he really does have good stuff.

1:17:071:17:09

It's well written, very sharply reported.

1:17:091:17:11

It sticks to the facts, fantastic quotes from people.

1:17:111:17:14

Your board looked into these matters,

1:17:141:17:18

had their law firm make calls.

1:17:181:17:20

What did they conclude?

1:17:201:17:22

'I'm trying to figure out why that is important.'

1:17:221:17:26

Well, because there's people who are out billions of dollars in debt,

1:17:261:17:30

who are going to decide whether

1:17:301:17:33

the current management is going to stay in place.

1:17:331:17:36

There's judges that are going to decide

1:17:361:17:38

whether they're worthy of bonuses that are on the table.

1:17:381:17:42

'I'll see what I can find out and we'll get back to you.'

1:17:421:17:44

OK, you have both my numbers, so let me know.

1:17:441:17:46

What should I know before I listen to my messages?

1:17:551:17:58

He was willing to start friendly.

1:17:581:18:01

I brought up widespread sexual harassment.

1:18:011:18:05

So when he calls and says, "I can't get this shit together"...

1:18:051:18:08

I should probably get this.

1:18:081:18:11

Yeah.

1:18:111:18:12

All right, you shouldn't be here.

1:18:121:18:15

Bruce Headlam.

1:18:151:18:17

How are you?

1:18:171:18:18

You've a couple things going for you.

1:18:181:18:20

He's one of the most fair-minded people I know.

1:18:201:18:23

That's one thing.

1:18:231:18:25

He's a very diligent reporter.

1:18:251:18:27

We don't do hit jobs.

1:18:271:18:29

That's not the business we're in.

1:18:291:18:31

The story we were led to, we were led to by the reporting.

1:18:311:18:34

Let me talk to my bosses, see what they're thinking.

1:18:341:18:37

You talk to your bosses, see what they're thinking.

1:18:371:18:40

And maybe we can look at it a little more dispassionately

1:18:401:18:43

in the morning. Fair enough?

1:18:431:18:46

You guys have negotiated this issue to the exclusion

1:18:461:18:49

of everything else.

1:18:491:18:51

And now you want to broaden out the discussion

1:18:511:18:53

four hours before we close?

1:18:531:18:55

We're interested in getting responses from you.

1:18:551:18:58

They're sending a letter from the law firm.

1:19:031:19:06

It'll be staking out a position.

1:19:061:19:08

If we say we're going to go with that,

1:19:081:19:10

then another letter will come from the law firm,

1:19:101:19:13

and that will be...

1:19:131:19:14

..contain threats of legal action.

1:19:161:19:19

They're worried this is a hatchet job,

1:19:191:19:22

Worried where the reporting started, all that kind of thing.

1:19:221:19:25

The muscles of the institution

1:19:251:19:27

are going to kick in here at some point.

1:19:271:19:30

It's not really up to me.

1:19:301:19:32

We need institutions that have the ability,

1:19:541:19:58

both financially and culturally, to bring news

1:19:581:20:04

that other institutions and individuals cannot.

1:20:041:20:07

I think part of what goes on with conferences now

1:20:141:20:18

is it's sort of lonely and scary out there.

1:20:181:20:21

It's a way to gather around a campfire

1:20:211:20:24

and say, "We're all right.

1:20:241:20:26

"Aren't we?

1:20:261:20:27

"Are we OK?

1:20:271:20:28

"We're fine.

1:20:291:20:30

"We must be, we have badges on."

1:20:311:20:33

What are you doing for supper tonight?

1:20:401:20:42

I'm going to eat with the AA guys.

1:20:421:20:46

Oh, yeah?

1:20:461:20:47

Are you skinny?

1:20:471:20:48

How skinny are you?

1:20:501:20:51

You're short now, too.

1:20:521:20:54

You used to be like six feet tall.

1:20:541:20:57

I was at least.

1:20:571:20:58

Is that going to happen to me?

1:20:581:21:00

My neck is already bent over.

1:21:001:21:02

Thank you so much.

1:21:091:21:11

Please welcome David Carr.

1:21:111:21:13

You've lived through the worst cyclical, secular recession,

1:21:201:21:25

the publishing business has ever seen in modern times.

1:21:251:21:29

Look around you, you're still here.

1:21:291:21:31

Don't think about the people that are gone.

1:21:311:21:34

Think about the people that made it.

1:21:341:21:36

It's a really big deal.

1:21:361:21:38

It's demonstrates, number one,

1:21:381:21:40

that you're a bunch of tenacious motherfuckers, I'll tell you that.

1:21:401:21:45

You have proven you cannot be killed!

1:21:451:21:47

I've always thought it was a little bit of a caper

1:21:591:22:02

that I ended up working at The New York Times.

1:22:021:22:04

I don't think I was destined

1:22:041:22:07

to be the best Times man there ever was.

1:22:071:22:09

I just didn't want to screw it up.

1:22:091:22:12

I would find it unspeakable if The New York Times

1:22:121:22:15

ended up in a diminished place,

1:22:151:22:17

but The New York Times does not need to be a monolith to survive.

1:22:171:22:22

Welcome, everybody.

1:22:281:22:30

We're here to take note of the fact

1:22:301:22:32

that journalism is alive and well and feisty,

1:22:321:22:35

especially at The New York Times.

1:22:351:22:37

# Just like a paper tiger

1:22:501:22:55

# Torn apart by idle hands. #

1:22:551:23:02

We'll see you in a little while.

1:23:071:23:10

# Fix yourself while you still can

1:23:101:23:12

# The deserts down below us... #

1:23:161:23:20

I find French posters of American films funny.

1:23:211:23:25

Orson Welles has a size 28 waist.

1:23:251:23:27

He's not like any newspaper man I know,

1:23:271:23:29

or anybody up in the cafeteria, even though we have a salad bar.

1:23:291:23:33

# Like a paper tiger

1:23:351:23:40

# In the sun

1:23:401:23:41

# Looking through a broken diamond

1:23:411:23:47

# To make the past what it should be

1:23:471:23:52

# Through the ruins and the weather

1:23:541:24:00

# Capsized boats in the sea

1:24:011:24:07

# The deserts down below us

1:24:081:24:14

# And the storms up above

1:24:141:24:20

# Like a stray dog gone defective

1:24:201:24:26

# Like a paper tiger

1:24:261:24:31

# In the sun. #

1:24:311:24:34

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

1:24:341:24:36

Email [email protected]

1:24:361:24:38

Documentary which goes inside the newsroom at one of the most venerable publishing institutions in the world, the New York Times. Director Andrew Rossi gained unprecedented access to America's pre-eminent news factory during one of its most tumultuous years, as the film follows its struggle to survive in a year where Wikileaks emerged as a household name and other newspapers folded. Led by people such as David Carr - a firebrand journalist and former crack addict - can the foot soldiers of this bastion of old media keep up with the torrent of information that is the world wide web?


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