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Newspapers are dead, we’re told. Dinosaurs in a twittering world.
Well, try telling that to The New York Times. The Brontosaurus of American journalism, the largest newspaper in all the land, is not only alive – it intends to thrive!
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Never mind that the paper’s ad revenues have plummeted, that it has put some of its prime assets up for sale, and that its cash-flow situation is so dire that it sold a big chunk of itself this year to a Mexican billionaire known for shady dealings. Times are tough, even for the Times, but the company’s innovative, forward-looking corporate leaders have come up with a business plan that they say will return the financial luster to gem of journalism. To make ends meet, the Times is going into wine.
Wine? You might presume that the executives have taken to guzzling wine in an effort to give the paper’s future a rosy look – but, come on, these are serious business people. They have announced a new, revenune-enhancing venture called The New York TImes Wine Club. For about $180 a month, the club will ship wine to your door.
At first blush, journalism and wine might seem an odd pairing. But the Times is already in the home-delivery business, so…. The head of “strategic planning” explains that a wine club is a way for the paper to “delve further into our audience and bring them products and services that basically enhance the bond with The New York Times.” Whatever the hell that means.
Well, maybe it’ll take odd jobs to keep the presses running. Actually, I think they’re onto something with that home-delivery theme. Why not add The New York Times Maid Service to the mix? This would make the Times a company that could do it all for you in one stop – deliver your paper, clean your house, and leave a nice bottle of wine for you. See, there is a future in journalism!
“Times Company Creating a Wine Club,” www.nytimes.com, August 14, 2009.