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NYT Publisher Says Not Focusing on Engineering Was A Serious Mistake 148

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the programmers-make-the-world-go-round dept.
curtwoodward writes "You'd have a hard time picking just one way the traditional news business stumbled into the Internet era. But America's most important newspaper publisher says one mistake sticks out. In a recent discussion at Harvard, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. of the New York Times said newspapers really messed up by not having enough engineers on hand 'building the tools that we're now using.' Instead, the the news business faces a world where outsiders like Facebook and Twitter control the technology that is distributing their work." Or maybe those outsiders are just better.
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NYT Publisher Says Not Focusing on Engineering Was A Serious Mistake

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  • All of this is very dangerous trend, where public and private entities (corporations) control majority of our speech. How can one exercise freedom of speech when in 21st century nearly all speech is digital, over this or that walled garden?

    We have Net Neutrality protecting data transmission, where is our Digital Speech Neutrality?
    • by intermodal (534361) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:11AM (#44882737) Homepage Journal

      The flaw in your reasoning here is that you are assuming two fallacies are true.

      First, that people single-source their information. Even a given individual gets most of their news from the AP, for example, it doesn't mean they chose the AP. Perhaps they were linked most frequently to these articles. A method by which they probably are exposed to a great number of other information sources, but with the AP getting the most exposure for that individual.

      Second, that the companies actually control the content that most people see. Facebook, for example, may be disturbingly Big Brotheresque in their policies, but their degree of censorship consists primarily of punishing breastfeeding mothers who post photos and deleting fan pages for Social Fixer, while allowing basically everything else but hardcore sex.

      If you want more freedom of speech than the corporate providers are willing to provide, get your own server and promote it. Even in the days of Geocities, there were certain controls on your use of that space, and the alternative of running your own server has always been the primary way to ensure the freest of speech.

      • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:20AM (#44882835) Homepage Journal

        People do not single source their information, which is absolutely true, but that misses the point. The point is that corporate information yells though a stack of a million amp PA speakers as compared to personal speech which is the equivalent of a whisper. If you say money is equal to speech you have to admit that some people get way more speech than others. Getting rid of net neutrality makes the problem 10 times worse because then you *can't* set up your own server and expect it to reach everyone. Setting up a linux server to serve yourself is not equal to a server room with 1000 servers... that's just a false equivalency.

        • This is the same old argument people always had about free speech and the radio. Why would the radio sensor music on their station? Doesn't the artist have free speech rights? Well yes... but someone owns that radio station and they have free speech rights to. You can't infringe on one groups rights to promote anothers. The constitution guarantees you freedom of speech, it does not guarantee you a soap box from which to speak it.

          • by sinij (911942)
            Then your interpretation of the constitution leads to unrealized and hollow right. How are you going to realize your right when means of communication are censorious?

            A car analogy: You buy a car, but it turns out that all roads around your house are private. Owners decide not to let you drive on their property. Sure, you can still get into your car and legally drive it to the end of your driveway, but you no longer have a way to legally use your car.
        • So what is the most influential form of information today? Obviously video.
          And what is the most influential source of that video information? AP?CBS? FOX?
          No, YouTube [youtube.com].
        • by stenvar (2789879)

          The point is that corporate information yells though a stack of a million amp PA speakers as compared to personal speech which is the equivalent of a whisper.

          Really? Care to explain how the NYT or WP spending a boatload of money is preventing me from reading what I want?

      • Lots of people are proud that they only get their news from the New York Times or NPR. They won't listen to any other sources because they won't believe anything that doesn't reconfirm their already-held beliefs.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        If you want more freedom of speech than the corporate providers are willing to provide, get your own server and promote it.

        The problem with censorship is that you may not know it's censored. Knowledge of censorship requires an uncensored source of information with which to compare. Free market fanatics always seem to forget that the market only functions correctly when consumers have access to all of the information required to make an informed choice. Without a way to force private news distributors to dis

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If you want more freedom of speech than the corporate providers are willing to provide, get your own server and promote it

        Of course, the fallacy in this is that your ISP will tolerate a server on their network at a price you can afford.

        • by pspahn (1175617)

          Why would you lease a server with your ISP? Why not choose an actual hosting company?

          Also, you can get a pretty good setup for less than $20/mo. My Rackspace bill is between $18-20/mo and while I'm not serving to a ton of users, the stuff I'm running there is pretty memory intensive and it still does fine.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And how was it really any different when everything was analog?

    • Only if you reduce the internet to facebook and twitter. Hook up your own webserver to the net. Public speech was never controlled *less* than today.

      • by sinij (911942)
        >>>Hook up your own webserver to the net.

        This is not a feasible solution, unless you also suggest that "hook up your own web server" is part of grade school education. With something as important as Free Speech you need to give access to it to everyone, and that includes troglodyte science denialist that is also very likely a 12:00 flasher. Even if we ignore this very important aspect, there is still a question of projection and audience. How many people will be accessing your blog vs. how man
        • . With something as important as Free Speech you need to give access to it to everyone,

          You think 19th century farmers could convey their thoughts and ideas to everyone else in the nation?

        • Freedom of speech does neither mean that a state has to pay for your speech, not that anyone is forced to listen. Audience? Could you imagine a bigger potential audience than on the web?

          Intresting sites will find their audience, but no one gets a guarantee to an audience. But that's the same within a twitter or facebook ecosystem.

          • by sinij (911942)

            So I take it you are fine with 'free speech zones'?

            • I'm fine with certain zones being non-free speech zones. 3am under my bedroom window would be one of them. And everyone should be able to start his own newspaper or - thanks to the internet - radio and tv station (no need to compete for scarce frequencies anymore)

              What else do you mean with "free speech zones"? I think we agree that free speech does not give you the right to commandeer others property, but it should not be obstructed as far as you use your own means.

    • by Sloppy (14984)

      How can one exercise freedom of speech when in 21st century nearly all speech is digital, over this or that walled garden?

      You had to exercise your freedom to put yourself into the walled garden. By default, everyone's speech starts out free and they do things to put limitations on themselves. Don't do that. Or reverse your earlier decision to stop being free.

      Even if you're required to use Facebook for work or something like that, it's not like anybody makes you use Facebook for your own actual speech.

      It

    • In the beginning, the internet was open, and federated. You could send e-mail from any server, even one you built yourself.
      If somebody said: let's run our e-mail from one server, and make everybody's addresses end in "@bigcorp.com", then that person would have been called insane.

      Now, when you want to share something, you are socially obliged to use things like facebook and twitter.

      It is not a dangerous trend. The internet is actually where we don't want it to be, to begin with.
      The protocols should be open a

    • by stenvar (2789879)

      There are tens of thousands of news sites. Most of them are not "walled gardens" at all. You can put up your own news site any time you like, and if people like it, they will read it.

      Where is the problem?

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:58AM (#44882619) Journal
    And they still haven't figured it out, which is why many of them are sticking their content behind ineffective paywalls instead of building robust discussion communities.

    These days, I surf to Google News and generally click on the first link that doesn't seem to have a video on it. I read so much faster than I could watch a video that as soon as I see one, I hit backspace instantly. (Also since I'm usually at work with mute on and very few of them have proper closed captioning on their videos!)
    • by CauseBy (3029989)

      Oops, you mis-spelled "effective" as "ineffective". That little mistake sort of changes your thesis.

      • Hah, nope. There's a pretty simple browser hack in place to get around the NYT paywall.
        • by CauseBy (3029989)

          It's "effective" because it sufficed to induce people to subscribe [paidcontent.org] to the website -- your freeloading notwithstanding. You know, in the 1990s some people took newspapers out of trash cans and read them, too, so you're not the first person to cheat around the "paywall", and the standard of "effective" is lower than 100%.

          • by jbengt (874751)
            Taking newspapers out of trash cans and reading them is in no way cheating (doctrine of first sale).
    • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @09:02AM (#44883283)

      How do you pay for serious investigative journalism, something I think that we are seriously lacking and suffering from, if you can't pay for your journalists? You cannot expect the masses to read lengthy and detailed reports on Syria, NSA, etc. and those things cost real money to investigate. Those guys are off watching Miley shake her ass, and honestly those stories are cheap to produce and highly profitable (and frequently just video clips from where miley last shaked her ass, no work at all!).

      It's always been for the more discerning types to read the paper, understand it, and start shouting out loud (i.e. subscribers). This in turn sells the papers to casual observers who are skeptical but scared enough to verify. But the paywall doesn't do that, people see the paywall and run elsewhere and either get puddle deep, misinformed or even outright misleading coverage from fox/cnn/msnbc and content themselves with drivel. Further, because the content is online on someone's server, and there's no hard copy, it feels frequently as if the story changes every time you read it. (And on some websites, it DOES!).

      The paywall needs to be fast and easy, one click shopping. Buy the story, receive an epub (that you can view in the web browser). Allow libraries to archive the epub and loan out a copy at a time, etc. I agree, stop with the goddamn video, words are far more searchable and faster to consume. What we want is actual journalism. But it has to be paid for (and worth paying for), ad revenue alone won't cut it with all the distraction out there.

      • by sandytaru (1158959) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @09:20AM (#44883451) Journal
        I don't disagree, and I do in fact pay subscriptions to a few websites that offer them. In exchange, those websites offer some perks to paid subscribers (one of them shuts off all advertisements.) I've turned off Ad-Block on sites that are careful about not having overly annoying ads as well.

        The perk of "seeing content at all" is not enough to convince many folks to pay directly for it.
        • by Jahta (1141213)

          I agree that good investigative journalism is vital to our societies, and needs to be done by adequately funded professional journalists.

          But there's a problem. Many news organisations largely gave up on this kind of journalism years ago. As is well covered in Flat Earth News [amazon.com] many settle for just parroting generic stories from the wire services. This is why, for example, you often see the same stories (and even verbatim text) across multiple news outlets.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @11:31AM (#44884825) Homepage Journal

        How do you pay for serious investigative journalism, something I think that we are seriously lacking and suffering from, if you can't pay for your journalists?

        Traditionally, your newsstand price paid for the ink, paper, and other printing costs while the advertising paid for the content. If I'm paying good money for something I do NOT want to see an ad in it. Double dipping is theft.

        The Illinois Times [illinoistimes.com] manages to do investigative reporting, pay writers and cartoonists, pay for syndicated columnists [illinoistimes.com], turn a profit, and still manage to give the paper away for free -- and not just the online edition, the dead tree version is free, too. You can pick up a copy almost anywhere in Springfield. It's wildly popular because 1) it's good an 2) it's free. Meanwhile, the almost useless State Journal-Register is laying off all its workers (their cartoonist now works for the Illinois Times and they have no in-house cartoonist) and they're on the verge of bankruptcy. [illinoistimes.com]

        Their problem is the same as every other newspaper's problem -- GREED. They're asking far more for a copy than what one is worth.

        They do not deserve your pity, their wounds were self-inflicted.

    • Downside (Score:3, Informative)

      These days, I surf to Google News and generally click on the first link...

      I gave up on Google News years ago when it became obvious it was being gamed by propagandistic 'news' outlets like Fox News and Newsmax to get their biased (or outright lying) headline as the large leading one on top of any story even remotely connected to politics, economics, military action, or women's rights. Google never bothered to address the gaming, so it's not even worth pulling up anymore.

  • by alen (225700) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @07:58AM (#44882633)

    used to be if you wanted to advertise in NYC, you did it in the NY Times. everything from a home to a car to a job. now someone else owns the platforms for advertising

    but then again, the NY Times was always a snobby paper that turned its nose on anything the staff believed was below them.

  • No, he's wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A top newspaper like the NYT is all about the newsroom culture where the reporters are the heroes. IT is backroom in that environment. A big investment in IT would've been wasted because it would've been almost impossible to manage an innovation culture almost completely separate from the main mission of the company.

    What they need to do is partner with IT companies in that space. Choose a small cap partner that will give them a stake, don't just rely on FB or Amazon or whatever.

    • Re:No, he's wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:16AM (#44882781) Homepage Journal

      I've worked at a major newspaper. Reporters HATE technical people. That's one of the reasons tech reporting so bad... they won't even TALK to a tech person in most cases.

      That culture hates (and can be very denigrating) to all people that are not reporters. Just getting an online presence itself very controversial at first.

      The fact that most newspapers faltered is not a surprise and is based on their culture. They are going to have to actually embrace people of other skill sets if they can compete at all, and that's a cultural changing going right down to how journalism is taught at journalism schools.

      • Re:No, he's wrong (Score:5, Informative)

        by Shoten (260439) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:46AM (#44883123)

        I've worked at a major newspaper. Reporters HATE technical people. That's one of the reasons tech reporting so bad... they won't even TALK to a tech person in most cases.

        That culture hates (and can be very denigrating) to all people that are not reporters. Just getting an online presence itself very controversial at first.

        The fact that most newspapers faltered is not a surprise and is based on their culture. They are going to have to actually embrace people of other skill sets if they can compete at all, and that's a cultural changing going right down to how journalism is taught at journalism schools.

        I can vouch for this in the overall news world, and not just in newspapers. Long, long ago during the early days of the Web, before the dot-com boom, I worked at the Associated Press. The head of the entire AP had, as canon, a prohibition on embracing the Internet because he didn't want to do anything that supported it. He saw it not as an alternative source of distribution but as a competitor, and considered even looking into engaging on it as a way of fomenting competition against the AP's core business. His views were not exactly radical among the business of journalism at large, either; trade magazines either categorized it as a problem (if they were ironically visionary) or ignored it altogether.

        • Re:No, he's wrong (Score:5, Informative)

          by Ken D (100098) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @09:34AM (#44883661)

          For the AP that was probably true (that the Internet was a deadly competitor). The AP represents one of the major things that is wrong with the newspaper business.

          You look at a print version of some newspapers and it's filled with cusinarted AP articles. They've been butchered to fill empty column space. The newspaper that I actually read cover to cover has zero (0) AP articles in it.

          • by Shoten (260439)

            For the AP that was probably true (that the Internet was a deadly competitor). The AP represents one of the major things that is wrong with the newspaper business.

            You look at a print version of some newspapers and it's filled with cusinarted AP articles. They've been butchered to fill empty column space. The newspaper that I actually read cover to cover has zero (0) AP articles in it.

            I wouldn't know. I worked at AP Broadcast, which had nothing to do with newspapers :)

  • They wouldn't fit in the culture of insular, ultra-liberal, upper class Manhattanites that define The New York Times.

    Indeed, the only attribute that engineers as a group share with NYT staffers is that they're both extremely white.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      Don't be such a troll. If the NYT was so liberal and leftie, explain its stenography for the Bush Admin., resulting in two undeclared wars with thousands of dead people in Iraq and Afghanistan financed with cooked off the books loans, and its support for the Bush led but Obama fulfilled idiocies re: the banking system, Guantanamo, and a host of other violations of common decency.

      The answer is: You're a troll, Now go away. Troll.

      • by Desler (1608317)

        But anything that doesn't worship at the altar of Ronald Reagan is clearly nothing but a leftist loon fest. Rush Limbaugh told me so.

      • Don't be such a troll. If the NYT was so liberal and leftie, explain its stenography for the Bush Admin., resulting in two undeclared wars with thousands of dead people in Iraq and Afghanistan financed with cooked off the books loans, and its support for the Bush led but Obama fulfilled idiocies re: the banking system, Guantanamo, and a host of other violations of common decency.

        The answer is: They watched two building collapse, killing thousands of people, some of whom they knew.

        ftfy

        • The answer is: They watched two building collapse, killing thousands of people, some of whom they knew.

          Not really an excuse for killing thousands of other people they didn't know.

          • The answer is: They watched two building collapse, killing thousands of people, some of whom they knew.

            Not really an excuse for killing thousands of other people they didn't know.

            No offense meant, but what world do you live on? For humans, vengeance and retribution are always excuses for killing people.

            That's not even getting into the mistakes and simple-minded statements in Ralph's post.

            • "No offense meant, but what world do you live on? For humans, vengeance and retribution are always excuses for killing people."

              No, it's not an EXCUSE. It's a reason. There's a big difference. Vengeance and demands for retribution are the reasons people set about killing other people. They are not EXCUSES, because vengeance and a demand for retribution do not exculpate people for being violent dickheads. IT simply explains why they are violent dickheads.

              FTFY

    • I think you're underestimating the number of Indian and Chinese engineers.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In elementary school, the smart kids get made fun of simply because they are smart. Then it continued into middle school. It wasn't until High School that they started to realize "Hey, the smart kids actually know the answers!".
    You'd think by adulthood they'd have learned their lesson... Then again we are talking about an industry that, 20 years after the public was able to get news via computer and ~10 years after they were able to get news on their phone, only recently decided to ditch the paper.

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:23AM (#44882863) Journal

    No.

    They could have had every engineer who wound up working for FaceTubeTwitSpace on the NYT staff in 1999 (assuming timewarp so they're not 12 at the time) and they would still have failed, because the management would never have listened to the engineers. Because the engineers would have said, "Hmmm, this business model is going to fail because of distributed peer-to-peer information and content delivery. We should build a peer-to-peer information and content delivery instead, cannibalize and eventually abandon print advertising."

    Would. Not. Happen.

    To complete the /. analogy, this would be like in 1890, an engineer at a buggy whip manufacturer saying "Yeah, we're making tons of money off buggy whips, but this won't last. We need to retool our leather workers to make steering wheel covers for these new automojiggers instead, or I guarantee, in a little over a hundred years, people on futuristic electrically connected typewriters will write each other personal letters in which they use our industry as an example of failed business processes!"

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Why would you distribute static news content through a peer-to-peer system over just using a web site? What exactly would the Times have gained by the former over the latter? Or were you thinking you'd sound really smart to the mouth breather crowd by throwing in a "distributed peer-to-peer" buzz phrase??

      • I meant the content itself would be provided by peers. As in, people are getting news from facebook and twitter, where the content is provided by distributed peers instead of a centralized newspaper, which is the manner whereby the NYT's lunch got ate.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          There is a market for news from actual professional journalists rather than some guy on twatter. NYT can fill (is filling) that market.

          The people who are really screwed are the second- and third-string newspapers; your Baltimore Sun and Albany Times-Union and Buttfuck, Idaho Free Press and so forth.

      • by spacepimp (664856) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @09:06AM (#44883309) Homepage

        They failed precisely because they just used a website. The idea that content is king is a bit dated now. The gravity of NYT news alone was not enough to pull people to them. They needed to become the distributor of their content to keep it relevant in as many places as possible. While they were at it they should have used their gravity to help promote and engage others in conversation about the news, or allow others to provide news of their own. Just building a website throwing news on it and putting it behind a pay wall is exactly why they failed.
        The point is the goal is to reach an audience same as it ever was, and all that NYT did was play a stubborn gate keeper that ensured their irrelevance by forcing people to go to their site, or pay for a paywall.

        I will say it once more: Content isn't the goal, an audience is. Building walls around your garden and making it harder to reach only made people find simpler routes of access to the news that was reaching/finding them not the other way around.

    • good god, a time traveling comment poster who hasn't heard enough about cars to make a more recent analogy

      The fall of /. is complete.

  • Hiring more engineers doesn't help when your fundamental business model is flawed. Generations in the past, newspapers used to be about freedom. Now, newspapers are about control. The Internet is about freedom. Adapt or perish.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Very few newspapers were really about doing investigative journalism. Many newspapers in the "generations in the past" were spreaders of propaganda [wikipedia.org] and yellow journalism such as that propagated by such famous newsmen as William Randolph Hearst [wikipedia.org].

      • by LF11 (18760)

        Totally correct. I ought to have specified a better time frame than "generations in the past." Certainly by the time of Hearst, the newspapers were mere mouthpieces of tyranny.

  • Newspapers really messed up by continuing to produce paper with yesterday's news on it. Newspapers were once a disruptive technical force - a combination of large-scale printing and national distribution by rail transformed the way people received information. But new disruptive technical forces have emerged. The only things that really kept papers going once radio and then television came along was broadcast regulation and the absence of any other outlet for low-cost advertising (radio and TV adverts being
  • Now here was a paper who was forward thinking. Just like Japanese car makers never make excuses they just execute.
    Japan knew the Internet was going to make a lot of content obsolete and so they started to release CD's of their news archives.
    Shortly after that they started to produce an online version of their newspaper. WOW how novel!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yomiuri_Shimbun [wikipedia.org]

    The NewYork Times failed to Execute now they will be Executed.

  • The soft practitioners of social sciences frequently look down on the hard sciences. Why would an elite organization like the NYT hire engineers? Artists, designers, writers - yes, of course. An engineer? It would be like hiring a soldier or a rancher, a total non sequitur for the Times.
  • The skills nevermind conception of social media would have been as it is, to undo the newspapers and replace it... no functioning business model. The publisher is looking at the technology and saying 'We should have done that' and is looking at the impact but forgetting that the world view to create those social media technologies is a different skill set.

    He should go have a long lunch with someone from the record industry.

  • by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @08:46AM (#44883113)

    Back in the late 90's up to about 2001, I worked as a web author/web developer at a not so huge newspaper... we in the web department (Known as Electronic Publishing internally) had a pretty free hand to try and figure out how to keep the paper on top of technology.

    We were pretty innovative for the time - we got our classifieds and real estate and obits online and we were able to publish breaking stories immediately and get our content online before it was in the physical paper ... a bunch of neat stuff.

    Then, sometime in mid 2000, our paper got bought by a big conglomerate.... they had their own very cookie cutter online approach and gutted the soul of our department - there was no innovation - hell, we lost a huge number of features that we had been doing for a couple years, but they didn't have equivalents for in their system.

    They homogenized their "online strategy" and threw out the baby with the bathwater... Now, I think they're still struggling with trying to stay relevant as the world moves farther and farther away from paper - they are too big and too stuck in their ways to have the kind of entrepreneurial innovation that our smaller paper had...

    Ok, sorry for rambling on - the point is that some papers - the ones who "got" the web may have been able to innovate and stay relevant ... but the big media behemoths have had a much harder time adjusting... they're simply not agile enough and not willing to embrace "disruptive technologies" (tech that threatens their current business model)

    The bigger they are, the more slowly they turn.

  • There are another couple of factors at work. First, journalists tend to be English majors who say things like, "math is hard," or "computers hate me." Second, once they come to work for a place like the New York Times their fragile egos swell to gargantuan proportions to insulate them from the reality that they really don't know how to do anything, and nobody really cares what they have to say. Next to those two factors, the presence or absence of engineers in their walls is irrelevant.

    Even as recently a

    • First, journalists tend to be English majors who say things like, "math is hard," or "computers hate me."

      No, Journalists are looked down on by English majors because they show up in our classes and are stupid, obnoxious, and superficial.

      Computers don't hate me, by the way. I've made a nice living from fixing them for other people. It helps that I can articulate what I'm doing better than most of my peers.

      But, please do not confuse journalists with artists. Or scholars.

  • The NYT is a hidebound unionista redoubt, resistant to new ideas from within or without. They think like employees, not entrepreneurs. And that, ultimately, is why they will fail.

  • That's not what newspapers were about. Giving a eulogy while the subject is still coughing up blood is a bit unorthodox, but here we go! Newspapers were low-budget operations that spent as little as possible on everything while putting ad revenue in the pockets of their owners. Next to the restaurant industry, they were the least forward-looking group of people I've ever seen. They are actually very similar to the restaurant industry in a lot of ways; labor violations abound, they never spend money on anyth
  • Software developed by non-software companies tends (in my experience) to disappoint on all three counts: quality, price, and speed of delivery.

    For starters, non-software companies typically suffer from the All Three fallacy: they want it good, cheap, and fast. No "pick one" principle here: they want it all. Over-optimistic projections then give way to crappy software and extended disappointment.

    The core problem, however, is that software companies are better at creating software (forgive me for stating t

  • He's looking at two successes ( twitter, facebook), ignoring all of the failures in the same vein ( myspace, friendster, plurk, etc) and assuming that if they had just hired enough engineers they would have had the the successful companies and not failed like the other companies trying to do the same thing.

  • A True Consultant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snookerdoodle (123851) on Wednesday September 18, 2013 @09:00AM (#44883261)

    From the second fine article: "It's the nature of employees to want to do the things outsiders might do for you. And it's not just money it's costing you. People coming from outside your organization are free to think without the encumbrances of insiders."

    No, it's not. It's the nature of consultants to want to separate you as a company from your money. It is the nature of consultants to attempt to sell their services by any means possible, including questioning the work ethic and intelligence of employees.

    "People coming from outside your organization are free to think without the encumbrances of insiders."

    Yup. Instead, they are completely shackled by the encumbrances of outsiders: Not being truly invested in a company's well-being at the top.

    I've been at this awhile now. I've been a consultant (and liked it) and an employee (and liked that, too). I've seen organizations go through the outsource-insource-outsource cycle enough to know it makes little difference.

    BREAKING NEWS: Consultant Thinks You Should Hire Consultants.

  • by wcrowe (94389)

    The irony in this is that it was technology that made the newspapers possible. Without the technology of the printing press there would never have been newspapers in the first place.

  • New York Times is Government biach. Lets not forget how NYT asks every agency it can find before publishing a story. They sat on warrantless wiretapping story not to upset Washington.

  • It is a business school fundamental teaching nowadays that a company better cannibalize its own product before someone else does. In the real world, that almost never happens. It is just too hard for the financial minds in a company to approve any act which jeopardizes current profits.
  • I remember many years ago the Dallas Morning News threatening to sue anyone who made a hyperlink directly to a story, instead of linking to the front page and telling people to go find the story (obviously so DMN could get more ad impressions). They should have hired more programmers and engineers so that they would eventually find one that would make outside links (referrer not from their own domain) redirect to their front page.

    • Not to mention that it would have resulted in nobody reading the DMN when it was linked to, resulting in fewer ad impressions. They were incompetent at being stupid.

  • PAGES Inc., software developer, initially built templates for TIME magazine to shorten time to market. The pulp version was 3 days stale before presses printed the news. TIME's goal was to get it down to 3 hours. TIME chose to forgo software and the rest is history. Apple copied the concept of the defunct corporate project naming the application after its namesake inspiration, Pages.

  • It's not that the NYT needs software engineers. It's that they need ad engineers. You know, the slimeballs who figure out how to hang relevant ads on everything. (Including personal email - that was really slimy.) The slimeballs who figure out how to reformat crap to maximize the number of ad impressions. (See any online "Top 10" list.)

    Distributing news is straightforward. It's monetizing the process that's hard.

  • We all know that Newspapers and even to some degree, TV and Radio are "Old School" news reporting. It is filtered and biased news sources now. People make fun of Fox News and MSNBC, and places like CNN, NYT and Washington Post for their bias, but that has always been the case, they are just getting caught more, in their lies and lies of omission. It is treating the public as infantile ignorant boobs, because that is how they view the public. Granted, a large portion of the populace is more interested in the

  • What the newspapers needed are analysts, not engineers.
    Analysts start with facts, not bullshit standard 'industry wisdom.'
    to wit, first demolish 2 silly assumptions:
    The New York Times has never been as popular as the Natl Enquirer and News of the World. That's a fact, So don't equate the NYT with the newspaper biz.
    Second, most newspapers made money on their classified and display ads. Subscriptions are not for profit; they are only to show to advertisers to justify the cost. In other words, subscription

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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