Trish Hall, who heads up the Dining In/Dining Out, House & Home, and Real Estate sections of the Times, has drawn the short straw: it's her turn to holler back when you Talk To The Newsroom. Already, a couple of people have asked the question that we pose several times daily: Is the New York Times totally just catering to the overclass more and more? Hall would be delighted to answer! "The question about what we cover, and why we cover it, is complex and always changing," she begins. Heh.
... but I can assure you that it has nothing to do with advertising. It would be ridiculous to say that we as a company do not care about advertising; we wouldn't get salaries if we didn't manage to attract advertising. But when deciding what to write, we pay no attention to who advertises in the section. If we have seemed to have a bias in favor of one kind of story over another, it is not for that reason.
It is true that the House & Home, Dining and Real Estate sections write about new buildings, products and restaurants that are of greater interest to people with disposable income than to people with very little ... But we also look at less expensive options because it is very important to us to reach a range of readers, those at all income levels and in many geographic regions, with different kinds of tastes and interests. In Dining each week, Peter Meehan, in 25 and Under, works hard to find places where you really can eat a full meal for less than $25; in House & Home, last week's cover on backyard movie theaters included a relatively low-cost option for $1,999.99 available at Wal-Mart; and in Real Estate, the section always is careful, in showing expensive properties for sale, to also show homes that people with the median income can afford, like the Montclair condo for $349,500.
Well, touch , Trish. Now that you mention it, that $1,999 backyard movie theater really spoke to us.