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Who Should Buy the Paper?

The Sulzbergers say they’re not selling. But if they were...

"Evan Williams"

—Nick Denton, owner of Gawker Media

David Paul Morris/Getty Images News

“Evan Williams [who helped found Blogger and Twitter]. The New York Times on Medium wouldn’t just look beautiful—it could become a Wikipedia for all news.”

"Fran Lebowitz"

—Graydon Carter, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair

Mike Coppola/Getty Entertainment

“Fran Lebowitz. She’s got solid liberal credentials and she knows a good story when she sees one. Plus, she’d bring smoking and laughter back into the newsroom.”

"The Scott Trust"

Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media

“I’d like the buyer to be the Scott Trust—the entity set up in 1936 to keep The Guardian going in perpetuity. That way we could shelter The Guardian and the Times—the world’s two leading, serious, English-language digital newspapers—together in the same trust. Of course, the Scott Trust could not afford the Times. So it would require the Sulzberger family to do what the Scott family did back in the 1930s: to sell their share at a price (or with an endowment) so that the expense of quality journalism could be sustained during the difficult digital transition phase.”

"Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, and Sue Decker"

Reed Hunt, former chair of the Federal Communications Commission

AFP/Getty Images;Mario Tama/Getty Images News; Yahoo

“I’d like to see a partnership of [Facebook COO] Sheryl Sandberg, [Yahoo President and CEO] Marissa Mayer, and [former Yahoo president] Sue Decker buy it. They’d get Maureen Dowd a billion readers, replace Ross Douthat with J. K. Rowling, and sponsor a Woman’s Party to take control of the dysfunctional Congress.”

"Mike Bloomberg"

—Alex Jones, author of The Trust: The Private and Powerful Family Behind The New York Times

Mario Tama/Getty Images News

“I think the chances of the Sulzbergers selling the Times are roughly that of Rupert Murdoch coming out as a weeping liberal. That said, should the Times have new owners, the best option would be a nonprofit with a big endowment, and after that, Mike Bloomberg, the rare billionaire with a taste for news and a passion for New York. And if Bill Gates were to buy it, I wouldn’t object."

"The Mayo Clinic"

Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast

Creative Commons/Michael Flick

“The Mayo Clinic. Excellent at keeping people alive.”

"Bill Gates"

Elizabeth Spiers, former editor of The New York Observer and founder of the Dead Horse Media gossip sites

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News

“If billionaires must own newspapers (and apparently, they must), I wouldn’t mind seeing Bill Gates buy the Times. Given his demonstrable civic-mindedness, I think he’d probably understand the public-service aspect of journalism and want to preserve it. And if he understands that, I think he could improve the business side without corrupting the editorial. I’d also note that he has helped oversee a media property before—Slate—and resisted the temptation to exploit it for his own personal interests, as evidenced by its inaugural issue, which led with a discussion titled ‘Is Microsoft Evil?’”