The public editor at the New York Times on Sunday castigated the newspaper for not writing enough about its owner -- the Ochs-Sulzberger family -- and whether it will succumb to the same pressure that forced The Wall Street Journal into the grasp of Rupert Murdoch.
Public editor Clark Hoyt wrote in the paper's Sunday edition that The New York Times is missing a good story in its own backyard. Part of Hoyt's job is to be the readers' representative at the paper.
Hoyt said today's New York Times is caught in unprecedented changes in an industry where readers are flocking to the Internet and advertising revenue is tumbling for print editions across the country. The Bancroft family, owners of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. Inc. (DJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), likely will sell to Murdoch, even though some members think he'll bring his tabloid heart to the pages of the financial news icon.
Hoyt said the Times has covered the Bancroft-Murdoch saga aggressively.
There has been a comparative silence in the paper about its own owners, their challenges and their strategy, Hoyt wrote. The headline to his article read, Tiptoeing Around the Family Business.
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of The New York Times and chairman of its parent company, told Hoyt his company's ownership is much different than the fractured structure that governs the shares of the Bancroft family.
Voting control of The New York Times Co. (NYT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is held in a single trust administered by eight family members and six of them must approve major decisions.
The single trust helps keep a close family united, Sulzberger said.
Hoyt said when London-based Morgan Stanley portfolio manager Hassan Elmasry urged a protest against New York Times Co. management, he said The Wall Street Journal did a better job of covering the story than The New York Times.
The Times published its own dutiful 1,500-word look at the Elmasry-led uprising, Hoyt wrote. The article touched the proper bases without the flair, drama and probing quality of the Journal piece.
Landon Thomas Jr., the Times reporter assigned to write about his own company, acknowledged writing about your boss isn't easy.
I wouldn't hold that story as one of the best I've ever written, Hoyt quotes Thomas as saying. It's not.