An internal report on digital innovation at the New York Times, obtained in full byMashable, highlights the paper's struggle to embrace online publishing.
BuzzFeed on Thursday published an almost-complete version of the report, which highlights some of the issues that former executive editor Jill Abramson was meant to address. That scanned-in copy was missing pages 2, 9, 19, 21 and 22.
The new pages (below) don't contain any major revelations, but page 9 names the team that wrote the report, led by A.G. Sulzberger, the son of the publisher of the Times, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. On page 19, the report assesses competitors such as The Huffington Post and The Guardian.
"We are extremely proud of the Innovation report," a spokesperson for the Times toldMashable earlier this week. "It is a candid assessment of our digital transformation with insightful recommendations, many of which we have embraced and are working to implement."
Abramson won't get the chance to see the recommendations through.Abramson won't get the chance to see the recommendations through. She was replaced by Dean Baquet earlier this week in a move that stunned Timesstaffers.
Baquet addressed the leak of the innovation report in an email to staffers, noting that the report was never meant to be seen outside the company.
"It is very candid and was meant to be an honest investigation of where we are and need to be — and for that reason was never intended for wide circulation," Baquet wrote. "Now the full report is out, and perhaps that is a good thing, because we are proud of the report and what it says."
Following Abramson's dismissal, a series of details concerning tension between her, the elder Sulzberger and CEO Mark Thompson emerged, along with details about a possible discrepancy between her salary and her male predecessors'.
Baquet, who does not have a deep digital publishing history, will now be in charge of addressing the concerns in the report.
"The best companies constantly look for ways to get better. They embrace change, rather than simply telling themselves how good they are. As great as we are journalistically, there is much more to be done digitally," he wrote.
The full report from the Times is below. Looking for a summary?
The email from Baquet:
Colleagues —Last week, we sent to all of you a memo outlining the key recommendations of the Innovation Report from a team that included some of the smartest people in the newsroom. It focused on the most important things we need to do to continue innovating digitally.Here is the draft report given to the newsroom leadership. It is very candid and was meant to be an honest investigation of where we are and need to be — and for that reason was never intended for wide circulation.Now the full report is out, and perhaps that is a good thing, because we are proud of the report and what it says.The best companies constantly look for ways to get better. They embrace change, rather than simply telling themselves how good they are. As great as we are journalistically, there is much more to be done digitally.That honest appraisal is what I and the masthead found so invigorating when we first saw the report. It is smart and thoughtful both in questioning our traditions and suggesting how we can – and must – build on the many things we do so well.The report calls for us to move with urgency. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why Ian Fisher and I are already starting to implement many of these recommendations.Have a read, and give us your thoughts.- Dean