Monday is the last day the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times’ Paris-based international paper, will appear under its old name. It will become The International New York Times tomorrow.
The Guardian’s Ed Pilkington asked Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson why the paper thought it could compete in “the famously cut-throat UK market.”
“The thirst for the quality information the New York Times provides is very real and pretty unquenchable at this point,” Abramson told him.
But what can the NYT offer British readers that they don’t already get? “Sophistication of analysis and news presentation that we do on a higher plane than anywhere else.”
New York Times editors don’t do modesty, Abramson no exception. She says her ambition for the paper is to become “the international provider of the highest quality news and information. That simple. It’s the best, so everyone is going to want that.”
The IHT was “itself from its inception a child of revolutionary technological advances,” soon-to-be-former editorial page editor Serge Schmemann writes in an elegy for the paper.
According to the history of the paper by Charles L. Robertson, it was industrialization and the rapid development of steamship travel after 1850 that created a new class of wealthy, Atlantic-hopping Americans. And it was the trans-Atlantic telegraph cables, first laid in 1858, that made it possible to keep them in close touch with their country, their businesses and the world. [IHT founder James Gordon Bennett Jr.], in fact, was instrumental in lowering the cost of trans-Atlantic communications — and thus making a European edition of his paper economically feasible — by partnering with another magnate to break the monopoly of Western Union in laying trans-Atlantic cables.