The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age

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[Commentary] There are few things that can galvanize the news world’s attention like a change in leadership atop The New York Times. Jill Abramson’s ouster probably reduced American newsroom productivity enough to skew this quarter’s GDP numbers. We don’t typically write about intra-newsroom politics at Nieman Lab, leaving that to Manhattan’s very capable cadre of media reporters. But Abramson’s removal and Dean Baquet’s ascent has apparently inspired someone inside the Times to leak one of the most remarkable documents I’ve seen in my years running the Lab, to Myles Tanzer at BuzzFeed.

It’s the full report of the newsroom innovation team that was given six full months to ask big questions about the Times’ digital strategy. As bad as this report makes parts of the Times’ culture seem, there are two significant reasons for optimism.

First: So much of the digital work of The New York Times is so damned good, despite all the roadblocks detailed here. Take those barriers away and think what they could do. And second: While it was a group effort, the leader of this committee was Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the publisher’s son and the presumed heir to the throne, either when his father retires in a few years or sometime thereafter. His involvement in this report shows that he understands the issues facing the institution. That speaks well for the Times’ future.


The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age