Welcome back to In The Room, my biweekly private email on the media industry. This evening, a closer look at the consequences of the Times’ compressed payscale, which has created a Sophie’s Choice situation for many of the paper’s mid-to-top-tier journalists. Plus, notes on Jake Tapper’s early outing as a CNN primetime host.
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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...