Handicapping the Impending New York Times Blog Massacre

New York Times brass is publicly hinting that its 70 (!) blogs will soon be culled to a less absurd number. Worried your favorite will be killed? We've handicapped the survival chances of eight blogs for your convenience.

The Observer reported tonight that the Times is going to be taking a sharp-edged tool to its stable of blogs, in keeping with more general cost-cutting measures. Whether this tool is a scalpel or an axe remains to be seen, but based on what executive editor Bill Keller told his staff earlier this month, some cuts are pretty much guaranteed:

One thing we are doing is taking a close look at our long roster of 70 or so blogs and our online verticals, as we call our focused packages of online content. We think we can save some slots there. Many of our blogs serve a valuable journalistic purpose... But if we find instances where a blog or a vertical is consuming considerable effort and expense with little reward, we're prepared to do some pruning.

So he's using a pruning knife!

The Observer made a pretty good list of blogs sure to make the cut: Andrew Ross Sorkin's DealBook, the Well Blog, Bits, The Caucus, City Room etc. But what about those poor blogs churning away in the more obscure regions of the Times' bloated blogosphere? Here are eight that could more-or-less conceivably not make the cut, along with a helpful point system to aid you in your office Fantasy New York Times Blog pool:

And the Pursuit of Happiness

DESCRIPTION: "Maira Kalman's illustrated column about American democracy."
FREQUENCY: +1
There's only one a month! Good for a calendar: bad for a blog.
COMMENTS: +6
Sure, her posts don't garner that many comments. But almost every single one is something like: "Wow, beautiful." or "Beautiful." or "Wow." or "Beautiful, wow."
AUTHOR NOTORIETY: +4
Kalman has illustrated more than 18 books and a bunch of New Yorker covers. She's as big time as an illustrator can get.
TILT: +5
One of those was an illustrated version of Strunk and White's "Elements of Styles," which every newspaper editor has basically internalized.
TOTAL: +16

Handicapping the Impending New York Times Blog Massacre

Stanley Fish
DESCRIPTION:"On education, law and society. "
FREQUENCY:+2
~3 posts per month. Not bad for the World's Oldest New York Times Columnist.
COMMENTS:+9
It's not unusual for a Fish post to break 1k comments. He writes about stuff that really gets Times' readers riled up: What their kids might be learning at their fancy liberal arts schools.
AUTHOR NOTORIETY:+9
So he's no celebrity chef, but he's got another kind of cred: Academic. Dude has written 10 books and is the "Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Humanities" at Florida International University. But you can just call him "Stan."
TILT:-5
The ancient Fish must be used to scrawling on papyrus scrolls or something, because his posts are WAY TOO LONG.
TOTAL: +15

Judith Warner
DESCRIPTION:"On the politics of everyday life"
FREQUENCY: -2
Anywhere from 2-5 posts a month. Sort of sparse for a blog about "everyday life".
COMMENTS: +5
Warner's posts frequently break triple digits
AUTHOR NOTORIETY: +2
Like Fish, Warner has written a bunch of books. But two of them were about people who lost presidential elections. (Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton). Way to pick 'em, Warner.
TILT: +3
She wrote a post about "Mad Men" linking it to the Way We Live Now. (Plus, she's a woman. Women love that about her!)
TOTAL: +8

Formula One
DESCRIPTION: "The competition, gossip, politics and technology of Formula One racing."
FREQUENCY: +3
Formula One? Posts are more at a go-kart pace: 3 per week.
COMMENTS: -5
Nobody likes to talk about F1 on the Internet, apparently.
AUTHOR NOTORIETY: -7
This guy, Brad Spurgeon, is a Formula One journalist. 'nuff said.
TILT: +10
We just can't bear the thought of what will happen to the readers for whom Formula One is their favorite blog on nytimes.com if it's cut. They'll be so sad!
TOTAL:+6

Handicapping the Impending New York Times Blog Massacre


Pogue's Posts
DESCRIPTION: "Quick hits from the technology columnist David Pogue."
FREQUENCY: +3
Pogue's Posts come at a rate of about 3 a week
COMMENTS: 0
Pogue's Posts rarely break double-digits. Maybe everyone's tweeting at him.
AUTHOR NOTORIETY: +1,000,000
David Pogue is not just a journalist; he's a visionary.
TILT: -1,000,005
Does Pogue really need a larger presence on Nytimes.com? Seems like he and members of his extended family are covering some new portable fingerprint reader or whatever every day in a video on the front page.
TOTAL: -2

In Transit
DESCRIPTION: "The Times's travel staff answers questions about the ever-changing world of traveling, from the modern hassles of flying to perfect vacation spots."
FREQUENCY: +10
Multiple posts a day (12 today alone!)
COMMENTS: -10
Not a single one of today's posts had a comment
AUTHOR NOTORIETY: -10
Can you name one person on the travel staff?
TILT: -4
"In Transit" is probably the most boring name for a blog ever.
TOTAL: -14

Handicapping the Impending New York Times Blog Massacre

The New Old Age
DESCRIPTION: "A focus on the elderly and the adult children who struggle to care for them."
FREQUENCY: +2
This old person's blog posts at an old person's pace of about 2 per week.
COMMENTS: +1
Solid double digits.
AUTHOR NOTORIETY: +5
The Blog's founder, Jane Gross, was the first person to use the phrase "anal sex" in the pages of the Times!
TILT: -1 billion
Old people don't read blogs!
TOTAL:-1 billion, give or take a few.

Slap Shot
DESCRIPTION: "News from the world of hockey"
IS IT ABOUT HOCKEY?: -3,000,000,000
Yes, it is about hockey
TOTAL:-3,000,000,000

There you have it. Place your bets!