April 14, 2016

The New York Times on Thursday became the latest media organization to announce a major investment in reaching vast and largely untapped international markets in a bid to grow its revenue and influence.

The $50 million investment, which will fund the creation of a new team called NYT Global, will bankroll a three-year plan to expand The Times to “multiple international markets in several major languages,” according to the announcement. Calling the money a “down payment on a new era of international growth,” New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. said the investment was necessary to help the Times become an “indispensable leader in global news and opinion.”

The Times has long taken great pride in the quality and depth of its international coverage and has managed to attract tens of millions of international readers. But because our digital report is still designed and produced mainly for a U.S. audience, we have not come close to realizing our potential to attract readers outside our home market.

The Times looks to be devoting significant personnel resources to the effort, rearranging space on its vaunted masthead for appointments to NYT Global. Joseph Kahn, currently the paper’s assistant masthead editor for international, will orchestrate coverage for the international push. Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, The Times’ international president, will oversee NYT Global’s business operations. Lydia Polgreen, who oversaw the launch of The New York Times en Español, becomes associate masthead editor and editorial director for NYT Global.

Today’s announcement comes as The New York Times is considering a major overhaul of its strategy tied to an ongoing effort to double its digital revenue by 2020. Earlier this year, the newspaper debuted The New York Times en Español, a Spanish-language initiative based in Mexico aimed at bringing Times journalism to international readers.

The New York Times is not the first American news organization to make a major investment in reaching international readers in their own languages. BuzzFeed, VICE, The Huffington Post, and others have realized that there’s a plentiful and underserved hunger for journalism in countries outside the United States for companies with sufficient resources to satisfy it.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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