Thursday, January 22, 2009

NY Times marketing dept. throws gala for Obama--NY Mag

"But there are also economic benefits to an Obama presidency.

His celebrity, and power to inspire the audience, is even a profit center — selling papers ($29.95 for the "Inauguration and Election Newspaper Set") and photographs ($1,129 for a 20-by-24 Damon Winter image) — at a moment when the paper must find new ways to market itself and make money. (For readers who want their Obama first thing in the morning, there's a $24.95 set of Obama "Victory Mugs," part of a extensive collection of Obama memorabilia available at the paper's online store.)

  • Hence the party. But for a paper with the Times' long-held journalistic values, hosting a party for a political candidate is far from seemly. "I don't know how to explain it," one Times staffer said. "I don't know what the thinking was." These days, there's a growing chasm between the Times' print edition and its more creative, evolving website. While Maureen Dowd's party on Sunday evening in D.C. was an A-list event for the paper's print establishment and Official Washington, the Times' New Museum inauguration party was the destination of choice for the Twitter crowd.
As the Times untethers itself from the physical print product, inevitably the values and mores will evolve too. The question is whether the party is a minor hypocrisy propagated by an overeager marketing department, or the outward sign of an inward evolution, a sign of where the power increasingly lies at the paper. On the web, of course, political identity is a traffic magnet. Just look at the Huffington Post and Drudge. One future for a muscular Times presence online might be modeled after the Guardian, or, as Michael Hirschorn suggested recently in the Atlantic, the Huffington Post — whose pre-inauguration ball was infinitely more glamorous than that of the Times." via


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