Hot on the heels of this morning's second quarter earnings report was the Times Co.'s conference call, intended to explain said report. CEO Janet Robinson once again proved that she is a master of the Boston-area retail market. She just loves to bring up the opening of the new Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus in the Natick Mall! And that the Bloomingdales in Chestnut Hill moved to fancy new quarters! And like, that means more ads for the Boston Globe, ya know. But. The Bloomingdales move was completed months ago (as was the turnover of the old store to an "upscale" Macy's, if you can imagine such a thing), and we're just wondering how long she's going to beat this Nordstrom and Neiman's drum. Can those two stores alone save the Boston Globe? And then she made a fatal error. She stumbled onto our turf—thanks to our discount-loving (Jewish!) heritage.
New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and his right-hand woman, Times Co. CEO Janet Robinson, sent out a memo this afternoon to let everyone know they're re-establishing the "Diversity Advisory Council" at the paper. Sounds to us like someone in the newsroom complained, doesn't it? Also, there are going to be "Employee Affinity Groups" for "the common interests of women, those of African, Asian, or Latino heritage and the LGBT community." Not a member of one of those groups? Don't worry; they're "open to all employees." The full memo after the jump.
Back in March, you couldn't talk about the New York Times without someone mentioning how evil Wall Street wanted the company to change its share structure, a system that puts the Sulzberger clan in charge of the majority of seats on the Times board. (Recap! Each "Class B" share, mostly owned by family members, is worth 10 "Class A" shares, which can be bought by the general public. Yes, even by you.) But now, the issue of changing the Times' share structure almost never comes up. Today, for example, the Times presented at the Newspaper Association of America's Mid-Year Media Review, and nary a word was spoken about the share structure. Not only that, but no one even asked about it. Interesting! (Also, Pinch Sulzberger wasn't there, naturally. You never know what he might say!) So just what is on the minds of the Times executives these days?
The noted shareholder activist Evelyn Y. Davis was annoyed: Her hearing amplification headset, which had been provided by the New Amsterdam Theatre on occasion of the New York Times Company annual shareholder meeting, was not working, and she would not allow the meeting to begin until she was situated. "The woman gave me a broken one!" she yelled into the audience in her thick Dutch accent. At the podium, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. looked perturbed but spoke gently to the woman, as one might speak to one's great-aunt who is being kept in a sanitarium high in the Swiss Alps: "Evelyn, you have to sit down or you have to leave."
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 New York Times Company just released its first quarter results, and the news is not all good. It's not all bad either though! Here are a few things Hassan Elmasry and other Times finance critics will be using to bolster their anti-Sulzberger cases: earnings per share were $.14, compared to $.21 in the first quarter of 2006. We would call that a 33 percent decrease in earnings per share. Also, operating profit decreased to $54.5 million, as compared to $60.5 million in the first quarter of 2006. That's 10 percent! (Yay, pre-algebra!) But CEO Janet Robinson put a brave face to the numbers. Let's walk you through some key points.
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!