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Bad Timing: The New York Times Needs a Commercial Real Estate Loan

I found this via an Instapundit link:

"The New York Times (NYT) has to repay $400 million in debt in the first half of 2009. It does not have the money. It plans to mortgage its headquarters, but it is uncertain what that will bring in an uncertain real estate market. The firm's Boston Globe and regional newspaper operations lose money, so they will be hard to sell. NYT is controlled by the Sulzberger family which has super-majority voting shares. That won't matter much when the company runs out of money. Another big media operation, perhaps News Corp (NWS) which owns The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post, will come in and auction off what it can and keep the flagship New York Times newspaper and NYTimes.com website."

It's no mystery that the entire business model of the major print media dissolved during the last several years. However, a few widely read franchises, such as the Wall Street Journal, have hung on by the slimmest of margins and landed in the hands of stronger business partners.

Others, like The New York Times, rushed in where smarter businesmen feared to tread. Ironically (and the irony is truly rich) the Times finds itself in the same company of the bourgeois capitalist mercenary targets that their Style section and Editorial page pilloried for years. Now they find themselves with hat in hand asking for a commercial real estate loan which will most likely not be forthcoming.

This must be enormously embarrassing today for Pinch & Co., especially upon learning that they are more gullible and less agile than Sara Palin.

Smug as it may sound, The Old Gray Lady long ago traded in the requisite humility and respect for truth (a quality that we today would intuitively think of as the DNA of a reputable news organization) for a more metro hip (i.e. Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman) and shallow editorial content. Their readers recognized this sordid compromise years ago and headed for the turnstiles.


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Comments (19)

...'Cause you're evil <br /... (Below threshold)

...'Cause you're evil
And you lie
...if you should die
I may feel slightly sad
But I won't cry


(name that tune)... (Below threshold)

(name that tune)

NY Times derangement contin... (Below threshold)

NY Times derangement continues with the right wingers.

1. Since when did taking an asset one owns and using it as collateral for a loan being "hat in hand." Sounds like welfare as you describe it. I suggest all you right wingers with mortgage get off welfare immediately!

2. Newspaper circulation in general has been on the decline for the past 20 years. This is not news, just further evidence of your NY Times derangement syndrome Hugh.

3. I know it's tough for you red meat eaters to understand that there's a literate, quality newspaper out there that doesn't bend at the knee for far out wingnut beliefs.

Get over it.

JFOToo bad that yo... (Below threshold)


Too bad that you THINK you are describing the NYT in #3.

You are the first to mention "welfare" in this post, yet your post suggests not. Which to me suggests you are either cut and pasting a response, can't read, or are hallucinating. Or all three.

Media demises when the advertisers don't flock to the media, as the advertisers are the economic backbone of the media.

epadorThese are th... (Below threshold)


These are the words of the author of the post: "Now they find themselves with hat in hand...."

That's an idiom for one begging.

I do agree with your last sentence. It's happened to the entire newspaper industry. But of course, Hugh would like us to believe that the Times' problem in unique, which it is not.

I am pretty sure the NYT wi... (Below threshold)

I am pretty sure the NYT will be able to get a property loan. Their property in NYC should be valuable enough that someone with the cash to loan will take the gamble that NYT will fold and they will get probably choice real-estate in a year or so. Worse-comes-to-worse, they loan gets paid off and they made money on the interest.

The NYTimes (and a lot of m... (Below threshold)

The NYTimes (and a lot of major papers) started killing themselves slowly when they decided the response to competition via the intertubes and other sourcing was to become politically partisan.

And then subscription rates started to drop.

The response to the decline was to become more partisan and self-centered.

And subscription rates dropped more.

The response seemed to be to become even more partisan. With subscription rates declining, however, the ad revenue started to shrink. And then Craigslist bloomed. (Or exploded, depending on your point of view.) There went the classifieds - it was easier and faster to find something on line, not to mention much cheaper to put it up.

(Recent 3-day, 10 word ad for garage sale in podunk paper cost $40 - Free on Craigslist.)

It's kind of like TV ratings - you don't get the eyeballs, the show doesn't get sponsors, the show doesn't stay on the air. Doesn't matter how much a fanatical niche of viewers may like it (see "Firefly" for a recent example) - it has to make money.

So - no ad revenue? No way to buy paper, ink, pay people, ect...

Of course, if you believe that no matter what people will buy your paper because it's the NYTimes, then you'll go out and mortage the company to the hilt.

That you're just driving the knife in that'll kill it to the hilt is beside the point.

NYTimes? RIP.

The NYT is in the JFK Jr de... (Below threshold)

The NYT is in the JFK Jr death spiral.

He pulled up, which only tightened his spin, and accelerated his descent.

They went further left, which only serves to alienate a large portion of readers and advertisers, thereby accelerating their demise.

I do agree with your ... (Below threshold)

I do agree with your last sentence. It's happened to the entire newspaper industry. But of course, Hugh would like us to believe that the Times' problem in unique, which it is not.


I point out in the post that the industry business model has falied. But I won't let the Times avoid accountability by saying they were swept away by a perfect storm that destoyed the entire industry. Their situation is unique.

The Bankroft family that sold the WSJ drove a hard bargain with Murdoch before they agreed to sell. At the end of the day the stockholders (both classes) were paid a resonable price.

Now consider where the New York Times finds itself.

1) Oustanding bonds are rated Junk
2) Huge operating deficits
3) They want to mortgage their primary asset at a time when commercial real estate loans are all but impossible to get.
4) Stock price a historic lows.

That, in my opinion, is the very picture of a "hat in hand" borrower. They are literally at the mercy of the market.

When I was a journalism maj... (Below threshold)

When I was a journalism major at The Ohio State University back in the very early 1960s, the New York Times was held up to us as an exemplar of what a great newspaper was supposed to be: unbiased, accurate with facts, courageous. Then, when the NYT published the STOLEN Pentagon Papers, it became apparent to me and anyone else with a functional brain that the NYT had become a propaganda organ of one school of political thought and at that point, it lost all credibility with me - and with myriad other readers. Despite the fact that espousing one or another political position is utterly destructive, in an effort to imitate the iconic NYT, many newspapers have gone the monkey-see-monkey-do route and thus, many newspapers have disappeared or will soon fail.

They did it to themselves and I don't honestly feel sorry for the managements that have thus doomed themselves, but I do have enormous compassion for the people who actually thought they were getting NEWS instead of OPINION for many years and soon will be unable to find either. Given that they were too gullible to think for themselves for such a long time, they will be all at sea with non-functioning brain cells - much like some of the commenters on this post!

Pinch found out how tough i... (Below threshold)

Pinch found out how tough it is to compete with those other hallmarks of honest reporting...like Pravda.

jfo:1. Since when... (Below threshold)

1. Since when did taking an asset one owns and using it as collateral for a loan being "hat in hand." Sounds like welfare as you describe it. I suggest all you right wingers with mortgage get off welfare immediately!

The phrase 'hat in hand' is used to describe a situation where someone who was a once 'too proud' has been humbled. It certainly fits the NYT's position. I suggest attempting to comprehend what you read prior to responding instead. You might look less foolish that way.

As far as The Old Gray Corpse... perhaps a more fitting metaphor would be that they're now 'using the furniture as firewood'. (i.e. that path a'int sustainable)

MikeThe phrase is ... (Below threshold)


The phrase is also an idiom for begging. So, rather than criticize me for interpreting the author's phrase in a legitimate way you might want to criticize the author for being unclear. I guarantee you my reading comprehension is as good if not better than yours. As for looking foolish, I would suggest that folks like you who are compelled to defend ANY criticism of something someone from the right posts are actually the foolish ones.

The NY times may go down, that's the economic reality of the day. We've already seen that with other papers and there will be more to come. But surely you are not suggesting that the paper with the third largest circulation is failing because of its content. Or are you? In which case you would appear to be even more foolish than I thought.

jfo:The phrase is... (Below threshold)

The phrase is also an idiom for begging.

Yes and the difference depends on the context in which it was used. Your reading of the post failed to comprehend the context (asking for a commercial loan vs asking for a government handout) caused you to misinterpret the phrase.

As such, I seriously doubt your assertion that your "reading comprehension [skills]" are as good if not better than those of "people like me", bigot.

I'll miss their crossword p... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

I'll miss their crossword puzzle.

Gayle,Is there som... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:


Is there some confusion in Ohio when people say they went to Ohio State? Do a lot of folks think that refers to the Ohio State Penitentiary or something? Is there a journalism major available through the Ohio State Penitentiary?

I could see how OSU might not be crystal clear what with Oregon State and Oklahoma State. "The Ohio State University" just strikes me as redundant. Unless you're afraid folks might think you spent time in the pen...

Mike:"....bigot."</p... (Below threshold)


From dictionary.com:

   /ˈbɪgət/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [big-uht] Show IPA Pronunciation
a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

Mike said to me: "I suggest attempting to comprehend what you read prior to responding instead. You might look less foolish that way."

The moral might be people people in glass houses should not throw stones.

jfo:The moral mig... (Below threshold)

The moral might be people people in glass houses should not throw stones.

Almost! "Your kind of people" might actually get my point.

The New York Times loudly s... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

The New York Times loudly supported the rush to invade Iraq and through Judith Miller were used by Cheney and the neocons to plant or maufacture stories about Saddams illusory WMD. Now the editorial board has added neoconservative writers like Charles Krauthammer and William Kristol.

In the last election NYT first choices for president were Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Yes have been wrong many times about American politics but normally because they have toaded up to the center in their desire to maufacture consent for the political establishment and retain their influence as paid up members.






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