The Chronicle of the New York Times

A Newspaper is Born

The New York Times is a leading American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. The New York Times published its first issue on the 18th of September 1851. It was earlier known as ‘New York Daily Times’ but on September 14, 1857, the paper officially shortened its name to The New-York Times (the hyphen in the city name was dropped on December 1, 1896.) Moreover, in the year 1861, April 21 – the New York Times began publishing a Sunday edition to offer daily coverage of the Civil War.

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16th April 1912: Front page of The New York Times newspaper with headlines announcing the sinking of the ‘Titanic’ ocean liner, dated Tuesday. (Photo by Blank Archives/Getty Images)

Surprisingly, ‘they were the only newspaper to announce that the Titanic had sunk, on the day the ship sank.’ After the Titanic’s wireless messages were cut off, most other newspapers led with headlines proclaiming the Titanic’s marvelous construction had kept her afloat, that the passengers were all being transferred to other ships, and that everybody was safe. However, only The New York Times guessed correctly that; “The silence meant she had gone to the bottom.”

Fifth Generation

This is what gave the New York Times a big lead in trustworthiness ever since. The New York Times was founded by journalist and politician Henry ‘Jarvis Raymond’ and former banker ‘George Jones.’ After the death of Henry Raymond in 1869, George Jones took over as publisher.

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1895: View of Park Row from City Hall, New York City. Known as ‘Newspaper Row’, The New York Times Building (left, foreground) and New York Press Building (right) are visible. Vendors sell from carts on the sidewalks. (Photo by Museum of the City of New York/Byron Collection/Getty Images)

The paper is entirely owned by ‘The New York Times Company’ which is traded publicly but controlled primarily by the OCHS – SULZBERGER family through a dual-class share structure. The family has owned it since 1896; A.G. Sulzberger, the paper’s publisher, and his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., the company’s chairman, are the fourth and fifth generation of the family to helm the paper.

In 1852, the newspaper started a western division, The Times of California, which arrived whenever a mail boat from New York docked in California. However, the effort failed once local California newspapers came into prominence.

Now, let’s have a look at New York Times achievements and milestones that took the world of journalism to another level;

One Breakthrough is all it takes

They hold just one, and that is to make people aware by directing attention towards what matters and that too without any fear or favor. They are best known as ‘the most powerful engine’ for independent, deeply reported and ground zero journalism and setting the standard for the most ambitious and innovative storytelling. They make their journalism more insightful, meaningful and essential to the daily lives of the global community they serve.

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A view of the printing plant of the New York Times in College Point Queens in May 2008 in New York City. Page one starts printing around midnight, and the first papers are loaded on delivery trucks by 2 am. (Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images)

This paper has not only grabbed the 17th spot in the world by circulation but has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes – more than any other newspaper. The New York Times has been considered as a national newspaper of record within the industry. The paper’s slogan ‘All the News that’s fit to Print’ goes well with the standards set by the newspaper as it delivers both quantity and quality.

Choosing Sides

The newspaper’s reputation grew in 1870 and 1871 when it published a series of ‘exposés on William Tweed,’ leader of the city’s Democratic Party — popularly known as “Tammany Hall” — that led to the end of the Tweed Ring’s domination of New York’s City Hall. 5 million dollars were offered to the New York Times not to publish the story, and this was the breakthrough in the history of the New York Times. However, The New York times gradually transitioned from supporting Republican Party Candidates in its editorials to becoming more politically independent and analytical.

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Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., The New York Times Publisher and The New York Times Company Chairman, speaks onstage at The New York Times New Work Summit on March 1, 2016, in Half Moon Bay, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for New York Times)

In 1884, the paper supported Democrat Grover Cleveland in his first presidential campaign. While this move cost The New York Times a portion of its readership among its more progressive and Republican readers because their revenue declined from $188,000 to $56,000, but the paper eventually regained most of its lost ground within a few years.

Awards and Facts

The New York Times secured various awards under its name but to name a few; it won the ‘GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Newspaper Overall Coverage.’ for consecutive four years, i.e., from 2099 to 2012. Also, it received George Polk Award for Best Commentary in 2017 and i-3 Award for Impact, Innovation, and Influence in 2015 and 2017.

  • 57 Million is the average number of monthly New York Times Website visitors.
  • On an average or daily basis, nearly 2 million people subscribe online to the New York Times.
  • The New York Times holds 1.2 million digital subscribers worldwide.
  • $$232.8 million is the annual estimated revenue for the New York Times digital-only subscription.
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A person is seen reading the electronic version of the New York Times on a tablet in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on August 21, 2016. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

New York Times is one of the leading print newspapers in the world and an excellent example of a successful transition from traditional to digital using a paywall. However, their total number of print subscribers is downsizing, but gradually about 6,00,000 copies circulate on weekdays and 1.1 million on Sundays.

In the year 2012, the New York Times published ‘Snow Fall’ which was a six-page article about the 2012 Tunnel Creek Avalanche which integrated photos, videos, and interactive graphics and was hailed as a watershed moment for Online Journalism.

Status Quo

In 1995 The New York Times had 1.5 million print subscribers, and currently, they have 2.5 million subscriptions if we count print and digital subscriptions together. Last year, i.e., in the year 2017 the New York Times made $400 million in digital revenue – which is much more than any of their digital competitors. Their native advertising shop, T Brand Studios, is growing fast, taking their advertisers into the newest forms of storytelling, like virtual reality.

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The New York Times building stands in Manhattan on July 27, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The New York Times has also reached another significant milestone. They now make more revenue from their subscribers then they do from their advertisers. Last year, the company’s leaders laid out an ambitious goal to double the digital income to at least $800 million by 2020. Furthermore, that strategy explicitly stated that ‘The New York Times’ considers itself to be a subscription business first and an advertising business which is built on customer’s loyalty, engagement and attention. 90% of their digital revenue comes from just 12% of their readers.