ink-stained wretches

New York Times Publisher Planning Jaunt in Himalayas Amid Labor Dispute

Pedestrians pass in front of the New York Times Co. building in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. New York Times Co., publisher of the namesake newspaper, said more than 100,000 people signed up for new digital subscriptions, a sign online revenue may help offset a decline in print advertising and circulation. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

At the end of last year, the New York Times pushed out its CEO Janet Robinson, but gifted her a retirement package worth more than $20 million despite continued economic uncertainty at the company. The search for her replacement is ongoing, as are contract negotiations between management and the paper’s Newspaper Guild employees. Back in February, members staged a silent protest outside the hallowed Page One meeting, but the labor struggle has since been taken up a notch to the logical next step: angry e-mails about the boss.

Reporter Don McNeil sent a pissed missive to about 150 Times employees, and naturally, it was obtained by Gawker. In it, McNeil slams publisher/scion Arthur Sulzberger Jr. for offenses including canceling the 2012 State of the Times address, failing to speak at a memorial for reporter Anthony Shadid, and scheduling an indulgent trip (relevant embarrassing YouTube footage included):

So where is Arthur these days?

At the small dinners he is having with staff, he offered an answer: He has found a new management guru, Michael Useem. And he is going trekking with Mr. Useem in the Himalayas soon.

No, really. … A Nepal trek is very Arthur, since he’s a rock climber and Outward Bound tripper.

(He discusses that on YouTube here)

But to learn leadership? Shouldn’t a 60-year-old corporate chairman already know whether he’s a leader or not? Shouldn’t that have been decided by age 35 or so?

And a trek now? In mid-crisis?

We put out a great newspaper every day. But outside the newsroom, at the corporate level, we’re sailing on a ghost ship.

One editor responded, “Before this gets out of hand — and I may already be too late — let’s throttle the sniping at Arthur.” Yep, too late.

Times Publisher Slammed by Reporter in E-mail