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A Wrinkle at ‘The Times’

President and C.E.O. of the New York Times Company, Meredith Kopit Levien.
President and C.E.O. of the New York Times Company, Meredith Kopit Levien. Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Vox Media
Dylan Byers
October 14, 2022

Shortly after sending out my latest private email about the talent emigration at The New York Times, Timesism & Its Discontents, it occurred to me that I may have buried the lede. My reporting, which included conversations with around two dozen current and former journalists at the paper, had unearthed a pervasive sense of restlessness with Timesian bureaucracy. Many reporters felt boxed inside their respective beats and limited by the institution in their ability to pursue (and profit from) extracurricular activities. 

The Times was perhaps a victim of its own success in this regard: over a decade, it had recruited many of the most ambitious journalists of the era to work almost exclusively in service of the paper; now it was being forced to reckon with those ambitions—a new title or assignment, more leeway, et cetera—which didn’t always align with what was best for the Times. In the old days, the Times could, and often did, tell reporters to putter off when they came clamoring for the aforementioned extras. At times, this led to significant management mistakes. Imagine what Nate Silver could have built inside 620 Eighth Avenue if Jill Abramson hadn’t played such hardball. Anyway, notable names sought fame and fortune elsewhere. In some cases, they were managed out.