The Leaked New York Times Innovation Report and Why It’s Important

The New York Times (on purpose or not) leaked an innovation report which ended up being a scathing analysis of how far behind the times the Times really are. From one of the worldwide leaders in Journalism comes a humble look at their own efforts digitally. They recognize how behind they really are but it seems that they have a plan to become more relevant to a larger audience in the future.

Some important highlights of the 90 page report:

  • Competition is increasing and some of their competitors are producing some massive numbers. EG: Flipboard getting more traffic to the New York Times’ own articles than the Times’ receives to its’ own site.
  • The journalism industry is being “disrupted” with a cheaper easy to find version of “news”. The example given in the report is strikingly similar to Clayton Christiensen’s The Innovators Dilemma. In the book he talks about when entities get too large within their own industry, smaller, faster more nimble businesses innovate to create the future product offerings.
  • They’ve named and provided stats on some of their competition. Some very familiar names on the list such as: Huffington Post, Flipboard, and Buzzfeed.
  • The mentioned the NY Times “Influencers”. Every organization at one point will needs to know who their influencers are and how to leverage them.

The NewYork Times Audience:

  • 30M web readers in U.S. per month
  • 20M Mobile readers in U.S. per month
  • 13.5M News Alerts audience
  • 11.3M Twitter followers
  • 6.5M E-Mail Newsletter Subscribers
  • 5.7M Facebook followers
  • 1.25M Print Subscribers
  • 760K digital subscribers

The Proposal:

  1. Discovery – getting our work in front of the right readers at the right place and at the right time.
  2. Promotion – we need better advocates of our over work.
  3. Connection – our readers are perhaps our greatest untapped resource.

This seems more like a game plan for ANY organization that wants to grow in this new digital world. They’ve identified that is has to start at their core if they hope to have any chance of surviving the disruption that the journalism/publishing industry is facing.

Some important quotes from the report:

“Digital staffers want to play creative roles not service roles.”

“We need makers, entrepreneurs, reader advocates and zeitgeist watchers”

“Evergreen content is appealing to readers if resurfaced in a way that is smart”

“The newsroom can fall into old habits about experiments like this one, raising concerns about  turf, quality control and precedents.”

“One-offs are laborious, so we should focus on making such efforts replicable and scalable.”