Back in March, you couldn't talk about the New York Times without someone mentioning how evil Wall Street wanted the company to change its share structure, a system that puts the Sulzberger clan in charge of the majority of seats on the Times board. (Recap! Each "Class B" share, mostly owned by family members, is worth 10 "Class A" shares, which can be bought by the general public. Yes, even by you.) But now, the issue of changing the Times' share structure almost never comes up. Today, for example, the Times presented at the Newspaper Association of America's Mid-Year Media Review, and nary a word was spoken about the share structure. Not only that, but no one even asked about it. Interesting! (Also, Pinch Sulzberger wasn't there, naturally. You never know what he might say!) So just what is on the minds of the Times executives these days?
Once again, Janet Robinson proved herself intimately familiar with the hotel and retail markets of the Boston metropolitan area, informing the audience that the Macy's in Chestnut Hill had gone upscale, and that the opening of Nordstrom and a new Neiman Marcus in the area boded well for the Boston Globe. To which we can only say: The future of the Boston Globe is tied up in three department stores.
By the way, her voice is like silk—with spikes embedded in it.
We also learned that PC Magazine named the Times Reader—that thing where you can read the paper on your computer as if it were in print, or something like that—one of its 100 Best Products of 2007. Which is fitting, because you can only use it if you're on a PC.
The paper is also leasing a total of seven floors in its new building to fancy corporate law firm Goodwin Procter, which will help out with that cash flow problem. Of course it also means that the company will continually be looking at which departments they can kick out of the new building. "We're looking at who needs to be in the New York market, and who needs to be in Midtown Manhattan," Robinson said. "The news and ad sales staff need to be. But others could be elsewhere in Manhattan, or outside Manhattan. All of those things are on the table right now." So long, support staff! Enjoy New Jersey!
We also have a special themed magazine issue about colleges and universities to look forward to this fall.
All that, and not a peep about the shareholder structure, or notions of public vs. private ownership. Is everyone too wrapped up in the Wall Street Journal's tribulations to care?