New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger was a devoted supporter of Hillary Clinton, pushing the newspaper into an endorsement of the Democratic candidate from which its editorials only later rowed back. That will make for some interesting conversations with Caroline Kennedy, the Times scion's close friend. Kennedy-the Sweet Caroline of Neil Diamond's song and daughter of JFK-backed Clinton's victorious rival together with most of the Irish-American political royalty. And she's just been named to the three-person team to vet Democratic nominee Barack Obama's possible running mates.
Which recently separated newspaper publisher has been seen regularly in the company of a woman from an even more famous dynasty? They're longstanding friends; she's still married; and she's too preoccupied with an illness in the family to think about the future. But that hasn't stopped the speculation. (Okay, so the newly separated newspaper publisher is pretty obvious: the New York Times' moose-loving Arthur Sulzberger. But the identity of his supposed lover is a surprise.)
The New York Times publisher and his wife Gail Gregg said their decision to divorce was "amicable"-which nobody believes. Divorces are never amicable. There's no information beyond the statement, buried on a Friday afternoon: even the Post, which would normally relish the opportunity to embarrass the liberal snobs at the Times, left the story alone. So here's some speculation from the gossip mill to fill the vacuum. 1. " I always just assumed a guy who still carried around a stuffed moose was either a plushie or a furry and therefore not interested in vaginal sex," says one gossip. 2. Given the Times' lackluster share price under Sulzberger's rule, and collapsing advertising revenues, the motives could have been financial. "She probably wants a divorce while he's still worth something." 3. Most likely: the younger girlfriend. Sulzberger and his wife, both 56, have been married for 33 years. Anyone know who the new model is?
The Sulzbergers' grip on the New York Times has loosened, a bit. The Times Company announced today that they've given in to the hedge funds that have ammassed 19 percent of the company's publicly traded stock and given them two seats on the company's board of directors. Harbinger Capital and Firebrand are now free to demand the Times sell the Boston Globe in person at the next board meeting. "Under the truce with the hedge funds, the number of directors elected by Class B stock will rise from 9 to 10. The number of Class A directors will rise from 4 to 5." (Class B is the Sulzberger family-controlled non-publicly traded stock.) One of the new directors will be douchey NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway. Banks and Australians are taking over everything! Journalism is dooooomed! [NYT]
The New York Times broke the Spitzer story. They learned of it on Friday and forced his announcement yesterday. But their editorial board, and their Sulzberger family, love the governor soooo much. They love him, but they are also self-appointed guardians of middle class morality! And honor! So what to do? Write the most ridiculously mealy-mouthed editorial ever? Sure! While every other New York paper howled for Spitzer's head, the Times felt that he probably should maybe resign, or at least that it would be perhaps a bad idea not to resign, or something. That is the argument of the lead editorial of the most influential opinion page of the Upper East Side.
"Power lawyer" Bob Bennett (not to be confused with his gambling-addict moralizing Conservative pundit brother Bill, as we sometimes do) uses his memoir to pretend to be a half-Indian South-Central Blood who—no, sorry, he just uses it to trash New York Times editor Arthur Sulzberger, for not helping Bennett's defense of former Times star Judith Miller when she was under indictment for refusing to name which member of the Bush administration leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to the journo. You see, Pinch Sulzberger planned a big party for Judy the night she got out of jail! But Judy had to testify the next day, and attending a fancy party would perhaps be considered bad form. A short time later, Pinch and Bill Keller cut Judy loose (a couple years too late to save face for the paper). If that's the worst the anti-Pinch dirt gets, you are advised to skip the book. [NYDN]
Digg is close to announcing its sale to a major media player for $300 million to $400 million, according to sources close to the company, I hear. When I floated this Digg rumor past some knowledgeable friends, several scoffed: "When isn't Digg up for sale?" It's true: The news-discussion site is perpetually in talks — but we hear the price tag always sinks potential deals before they're consummated. CBS, for example, backed off, with effervescent dealmaker Quincy Smith citing the media company's bubbly $280 million purchase of Last.fm as the reason it couldn't bid a high price for Digg. Things are different now, though.
There seems to be a sudden rush of New York Times employees onto Facebook—including Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher. He has 61 friends! But Times spokesbot Catherine Mathis is not among them. What up? And: Send us screenshots please! We are loving his business casual picture! Update: Ah ha! The Times is a "partner" in "Facebook Ads", which is going live tonight. It makes more sense now!
Late this morning, New York Times Co. executives—not Mr. Pinch Sulzberger, though!—spoke on a conference call about the company's first-quarter results. We learned a thing or two! For one, we can look forward to additional issues of glossy T Beauty (doesn't that sound like a Boston light rail lady-pageant?) and real-estate magazine Key this year. Also, if you are one of the lucky 100,000 high-income households in (speaking of!) Boston and the surrounding area, you just may receive an issue of Fashion Boston, which we assume is kind of like T but made more boring for the Boston market.
The annual shareholder meeting of the Times Co. is just next Tuesday, and in preparation we're all reading the company's annual report. What delicious secrets lurked within, we wondered? Well we enjoy the "Risk Factors" section, where we learned the following: The New York Times does not like that the odd idea that blogs are taking away their business. (They are? News to us.) Also, all those layoffs might result in an inferior product!
In a talk at Harvard on Tuesday, Barry Gewen, an editor at the New York Times Book Review since the early 90's, revealed a steaming heap of heretofore unknown and as-of-yet unreported details about the Book Review's inner workings. The reason for his trip, he said, was to correct some misconceptions among the largely academic audience about how the Review is assembled. "We're thought to have agendas, we're thought to be out to get people," he said. "I hope by the end of this talk I'll have persuaded you that none of that is the case."
The New York Times, for the first time since 1994, will not participate in "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" this April. It's not just because they hate children, though! They'll be mid-move, according to a memo just sent by publisher Arthur Sulzberger, to their delicious new building. The childless media heathens of 43rd Street—as in, the vast majority of the staff— can rejoice in an unbroken 365-day streak without the cooing of Brooklyn toddlers and the sullen poutings of pimpled Jersey teens spewing from the soon-to-be-forgotten cubicle farms.
We've yet to see this statement anywhere else, but it gives an interesting perspective into the Times chairman's current plans for the future.