The New York Times is currently running as a “risky business” that could go bankrupt in the next decade or two, the former media columnist said.
Ben Smith, who worked for the company for two years, warned that NYT’s confused identity and lack of clear plans for the future could be damaging as it begins to be considered a “tech company.”
But the publisher of the NYT, AG Sulzberger, said the “bundle” of additional features the company is offering readers “isn’t a shift from news — it’s a shift back to the newspaper.”
However, there is now a ‘frozen conflict’ within the walls of the newsroom after a cultural ‘civil war’ broke out among staff and editors during the pandemic.
Smith — who was also former editor-in-chief at Buzzfeed — broke away from the paper earlier this year and now heads a new media platform called Semafor, which launched on October 18.
Teaming up with former Bloomberg Media Chief Executive Officer Justin Smith, the platform will fight for readers’ attention by offering innovative article formats alongside journalists’ analytics.
Ben Smith, who worked for the paper for two years, warned that NYT’s confused identity and lack of clear plans for the future could be damaging as it begins to be considered a “tech company.”
The workforce is still trying to create a more progressive workplace after the wave of racial justice activism from the summer of 2020 — but NYT management is trying to make sure insurgency “never happens again,” Smith said
Speaking of his former employer, Smith wrote in one of Semafor’s Inaugural Articles: ‘Behind Wall Street’s pressure towards the bundle is a sense that the Times should be more highly regarded.
“It’s currently trading like a risky business that could go bankrupt in the next decade or two.
“The people building his stock are hedge funds, not relatively cautious institutions like Fidelity.”
He added that “no one” seems to know where the New York Times is going and that there is an “identity crisis” at the heart of the company.
The workforce is still trying to create a more progressive workplace after the wave of racial justice activism from the summer of 2020 — but NYT management is trying to make sure insurgency “never happens again,” Smith said.
As a result, the newspaper has hired a new set of administrative managers who are implementing “radical cultural change…as slowly as possible.”
But people in the new roles, which focus on editorial culture, trust and strategy, “find their own mandates confusing,” Smith said.
According to Choire Sicha, former editor of the style section, progressive writers and editors at the NYT have “gave up” hope for radical change at the paper.
David Bradley (center) is the chairman of Atlantic Media Company – which has invested in the new news platform Semafor
Information editor-in-chief Jessica Lessin (pictured) also has her stake in Semafor . stabbed
Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and chief executive officer of FTX Cryptocurrency, is estimated to be worth $10.5 billion. He is one of Semafor .’s investors
What is Semafor?
Semafor is a new global news platform founded by Justin Smith and Ben Smith.
The platform was launched on October 28, 2022.
Articles on the site have been described as a ‘Semaform’ – with the stories broken up into separate sections that contain the news, the reporter’s view of the news, and the counter-argument to that view.
Semafor will also include newsletters from journalists.
The platform said it has raised $25 million from investors so far, which is expected to bring the company in early 2024.
Smith’s exposé on the NYT’s internal wars comes amid Semafor’s highly anticipated launch.
The news platform has raised $25 million from investors so far – which is expected to last until early 2024.
Funders include David Bradley, owner of The Atlantic magazine and Jessica Lessin, founder of technology website Information.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which is reportedly worth $10.5 billion, is also one of Semafor’s early investors.
The $25 million in funding will take Semafor through the end of 2023 and into 2024, according to CEO Justin Smith.
At launch, Semafor said 75 percent of its revenue will come from advertising and 25 percent from event sponsorship.
Despite currently being a free platform, the company plans to charge subscriptions.
Semafor is going to tackle the problem the public has with trust in the press. By breaking down facts and analysis in their writing, the platform hopes to separate hard truths from opinions in an easy-to-read way.
In addition to Smith and Smith, Semafor has hired a slew of top editors and reporters in the US media, including Gina Chua of Reuters as Executive Editor and Wall Street veteran Liz Hoffman.
Justin Smith, is the former chief executive officer of Bloomberg Media Group