“And those recommendations were modest from that report that provided a snapshot in time,” said Sulzberger during Day 2 of the opening session of the World News Media Congress.
Explaining the new culture he said:
Experimentation is now rule rather than exception: "If you don't fail occasionally you're not trying hard enough" – Arthur Sulzberger #WNC15
— Abigail Edge (@abigailedge) June 2, 2015
He was joined by Assistant Editor Alex MacCallum, who he said was the first staff to come from the business side of the company to the editorial side, as a direct consequence of the innovation report. She had previously served as director of new digital products, but is now in charge of an editorial team dedicated to expanding the NYT’s audience and deepening that engagement.
The two highlighted a number of changes and achievements in the company within the last year, including:
- NYT has introduced three new teams: audience development, newsroom analytics, and newsroom strategy. Additionally, they have set up separate teams working on search, social, community and newsroom analytics.
- Digital traffic is 28 percent higher than it was a year ago and mobile is up 50 percent.
- Just in the last six months, NYT has seen an increase in audience of 25 percent.
- The Times is hiring back to the level before its most recent buyouts – but these are for new jobs and functions.
- International subscriptions are growing at a fast pace; its international audience is about one-third larger that that in the US.
- More of NYT’s revenue comes from readership than advertising. “That is hard to fathom if I think back when I started and it was 90 percent advertising,” said Sulzberger.
- NewYork Times historic Page 1 meeting has been scrapped and moved to 9:30 a.m., focusing instead on how to use different digital platforms for news throughout the day.
When asked about NYT’s relationship with Facebook regarding Facebook Instant articles, Sulzberger said being part of that “experiment” has been good so far and that Facebook has been a good partner. “We have to engage with them.”
He made a heartfelt plea to this publisher audience to protect journalists in this most dangerous time.
It's a brutal, time for journalism. Over past 12 years we've lost more journalists than WW1, WW2, Vietnam & Korea" Sulzberger Jnr #wnc15
— Julie Posetti (@julieposetti) June 2, 2015