Brill To NYT: You Are Not Fungible

Someone emailed to Romenesko a “confidential memo” written by Steve Brill late last year urging the New York Times to “have the fortitude to get off the free-content treadmill” and offering the paper a “plan” for doing so. The tipster tells Romenesko that “Brill has discussed all of this in at least one meeting in-person with the hierarchy of the New York Times Co.”

Beyond the how-tos and why-you-musts of Brill’s memo, some random bits of interest:

In two or three years, as an experiment, the paper might not be printed on the lowest-profit print day.


To encourage a sense of “membership” in a community committed to an informed society and participation in the world’s prime journalism organization, all annual subscribers would be given the chance to vote to approve the appointment of the ombudsman (whose role would be made much more independent for the same reason).


A merger with should also be explored as a way of completing the ultimate online paid package. (Cable networks, which depend on payments from cable systems and their customers, will soon need to face the consequences of giving their content away for free, too.)

UPDATE: Gabriel Sherman, at Slate, on “Why Steve Jobs and micropayments won’t save the media.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.