Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of the New York Times, has taken some flack for sounding a bit glum about the prospects for print journalism at the World Economic Conference, held last month in Davos.
On Feb. 8, the newspaper Ha’aretz quoted Mr. Sulzberger thusly, responding to a question about whether the Times will still be printed on paper in five years:
On Wednesday, in a speech to Times employees, Mr. Sulzberger plans to clarify the message attributed to him in Ha’aretz. The Times supplied the Observer with a portion of his text in advance:
“We are continuing to invest in our newspapers, for we believe that they will be around for a very long time. This point of view is not about nostalgia or a love of newsprint. Instead, it is rooted in fundamental business realities: Our powerful and trusted print brands continue to draw educated and affluent audiences.
“Traditional print newspaper audiences are still significantly larger than their Web counterparts. Print continues to command high levels of reader engagement. And, of course, we still make most of our money from print advertising and circulation revenue. And yes, I remember what I said here last year and what I was supposed to have said last month at Davos about not having a printed product in five years time.
“So let me clear the air on this issue. It is my heartfelt view that newspapers will be around–in print–for a long time. But I also believe that we must be prepared for that judgment to be wrong. My five-year timeframe is about being ready to support our news, advertising and other critical operations on digital revenue alone …whenever that time comes.”