Long Live The New York Times: A Special Package
Michael Kinsley quizzes Jill Abramson
What staffers would fix<
Who should buy the paper?
The Times' new rival: Mickey Mouse
Michael Kinsley's plan for The National Tribune
As raids on The New York Times by ESPN go, the network’s hiring of stats guru Nate Silver was actually not that big a deal. Media outlets have always fought over red-hot bylines. Rather, it was the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ pilfering of ace Times muckraker Don Van Natta Jr. last year that really signaled a sea change. Van Natta’s beats at the paper included News Corp.’s phone-hacking, and ESPN has tasked him with unraveling the Penn State sex-abuse scandal and sicced him on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell—an investment in old-fashioned reportorial firepower not unlike the one its Disney sibling ABC News made when it snatched Times political correspondent Jeff Zeleny. Industry consolidation and social media’s leveling effect have created a new category of competitor for the Times as conglomerates with theme-park revenues bet on journalists who can generate exclusives that stand out amid the daily content flood. And Disney—with its $114 billion market capitalization—can place a lot of those bets.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic.