The New York Times Co. | The New York Times
Good-bye, International Herald Tribune: The New York Times Co. is rebranding its European newspaper. The company believes “there is significant potential to grow the number of New York Times subscribers outside of the United States,” Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson said in a statement.
The IHT has “had three different nameplates in its 125-year history, with ‘New York’ in its title for 80 of those years,” its publisher, Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, said in the same statement.
“A Times Company spokeswoman would not provide details on how the name change would affect the Herald Tribune’s employees,” Christine Haughney reports in the Times.
Currently, half of The International Herald Tribune staff members who work in Paris are subject to French labor law, while the Herald Tribune employees spread throughout the rest of the world are governed by local labor laws.
The masthead of the paper will also change, the spokeswoman said, but she declined to elaborate.
The New York Times closed its international edition in 1967, taking a third share in owning the New York Herald’s European edition alongside The Washington Post. They eventually split ownership of the paper, which the Times later wrested from its partner, Susan Paterno wrote in AJR in 2006:
During negotiations with Post executives in fall ’02, [Times Publisher Arthur] Sulzberger offered [Washington Post Co. Chairman Don] Graham a Hobson’s choice: Sell the Post’s 50 percent or the Times would launch its own international edition and withhold “further flows of cash to the IHT,” United Press International reported. In October, Graham capitulated. The sale “was made with great reluctance and sadness – and little choice,” he said in a memo to his staff.
An international edition of the New York Times was “one of the options we considered,” Sulzberger told Paterno. The Times planned to change the name in November 2003, former Times Executive Editor Howell Raines wrote in 2004.
Those plans were shelved after my departure, although the Times recently announced that it is expanding the International Herald Tribune while keeping the IHT flag. The stalling of our plans to remake the Times into a global newspaper has been a bitter disappointment to me, as I’m sure it has been to Arthur. The delay will be sold as a matter of fiscal prudence, but it really marks a failure of nerve in regard to investing in the international English-language paper for which we felt the world was ready.
In 2002, James Ledbetter memorably called the Tribune the “duck-billed platypus of the newspaper world.”