“I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing The Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either,” New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger told a reporter for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz in early 2007.
And with those two sentences, the blogosphere exploded. New media millenials praised Salzburger’s foresight and acceptance as the man himself backtracked, adding his “heartfelt view that newspapers will be around–in print–for a long time.”
Less than two years later, 2012 is feeling pretty damn optimistic as the fancy house The Times built finds itself sitting on an increasingly precarious pile of debt already owed money money soon to be called in. 2008 earnings reports acknowledge $1.1billion in debt and a mere $42 million in the bank, a 10.6% drop in ad sales in spite of an 18.3% increase in online advertising revenue. More damningly still, $400 million of that fairly stunning debt is due this spring. Oops.