In your level-headed Wednesday media column: Jared Kushner congratulates his busy employees, the New York Times Co. explains how broke it is, a great idea for J-schools, and Fitness magazine finds success in fat America, somehow.
New York Observer owner Jared Kushner, fresh off some public trash-talking about his own staff in New York magazine, tells Jeff Bercovici that the paper's staff is doing great under new editor Tom McGeveran: "There's less inefficiency in the newsroom. People are busier. People are producing, and happy to be doing so." Layoffs will do that! Also he's still searching for someone to replace McGeveran, so, we'll see.
In a memo to New York Times staffers about the company's debt and how it's managing it, Sulzberger and Robinson lay out all the well-known facts about how the company has basically pawned everything it owns and is living off credit cards, then say: "As a recent article in AdAge asked, 'But can it [the Times Company] last through 2011? As it turns out, we think the answer is yes, and then some.' We couldn't agree more." We find this memo less than reassuring.
Richard Sine makes the fair and reasonable suggestion that J-schools—which sell a skill set vaguely suited to a poorly-paid, shrinking profession—shrink their own enrollments to match the current job market. Which is to say, down to nothing! Or thereabouts. He suggests they offer one-off classes in actual, useful skills, at prices that would open them to anyone. Great suggestions, which will never happen as long as Nick Lemann has a breath in his body.