Keller: There were 3 New York Times innovation reports

September 8, 2014

It’s All Journalism

In a podcast Friday, former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said two innovation reports preceded the much publicized 2014 report by Arthur Gregg Sulzberger. Keller wrote the first in 2005 and Jill Abramson wrote the second in 2009.

Keller’s report advised that The Times had to stop treating the Web as “a secondary function,” and stated that the paper needed to “completely integrate” the digital side of the newsroom. Abramson’s report came after she “immersed herself in the web” for six months and came up with some proposals, Keller told It’s All Journalism:

What they all have in common is this kind of urgent tone. The one that I wrote in 2005 sounded like a manifesto. In fact, I wrote it sort of assuming some people would object to it, and everybody immediately said, ‘oh yeah, that’s right, I guess we better do that.’

They all make the same point, which is old media still has a ways to go to overcome the cultural and psychological habits that are rooted in the old world.

Nieman Journalism Lab called the most recent Times innovation report “one of the key documents of this media age.” The report warned of decreasing homepage traffic and concluded that The Times was not growing its digital audience fast enough.