TIMES STRATEGY: The New York Times has tapped a familiar face for the role of senior editor for strategy.
According to a staff memo penned on Monday by executive editor Dean Baquet, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the 33-year-old son of Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr., will grab the senior editor title. Baquet said the promotion was due to the fact that Sulzberger took the lead on penning the paper’s innovation report, which laid out the digital strategy for the brand.
This story first appeared in the July 15, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Since it was released last spring, our innovation report has been hailed as an important piece of strategic thinking about how the Times can take its fate into its own hands and draw more readers for our powerful journalism,” Baquet wrote. “In a nutshell, Arthur will aggressively search for the trends and developments in the industry — from the way people read us as they bounce from mobile to print, to the most Timesian way of finding and grooming a new and bigger audience. He will assemble a small group of people — perhaps three — from inside and outside the newsroom and they will coordinate with Will Bardeen’s company-wide strategy operation. In fact, at least one member of Will’s team will be part of Arthur’s group.”
Sulzberger will report to Baquet, but his first task will be to help build a “joint newsroom-editorial page audience development operation.” That task, while somewhat vague, will, according to Baquet, help build readership.
When the 96-page Innovation Report was leaked to the media in May, it followed a slew of negative stories on the firing of the Times’ executive editor Jill Abramson. Although several theories about Abramson’s ousting still abound two months later, one which the Times can’t seem to shake was linked to a supposedly reluctant adaptation of the newsroom’s digital efforts, which included the integration of native advertising.
The perhaps fortuitous release of the report at the time explained the paper’s struggle to achieve a digital face-lift, as it dealt with a 150-year print-centric culture.
Sulzberger joined the Times in 2009 as a metro desk reporter and quickly rose to the ranks of national correspondent, and most recently editor for the metro desk.