The New York Times Has Lost $3 Million In Revenue Since China Blocked Its Website

Cost of reporting for New York Times

The latest column from New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan is about China: an article that first summarizes why it’s becoming increasingly difficult for foreign correspondents to work here, then reminds its readers that the Times remains – unlike Bloomberg, I think is clearly one implication — a news company first and foremost.

Here’s the article’s kicker:

James L. McGregor, former Beijing bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, offered this blunt assessment in The Times’s Nov. 25 article:

“It’s looking increasingly like as a media company, you have a choice in China. You either do news or you do business, but it’s hard to do both.”

So far, The Times — and, to varying degrees, its competitors — has continued to “do news.” That’s worthwhile, and challenging, and not very likely to get easier.

The part that undoubtedly everyone will point out, tweet, and re-blog, however, is this: the New York Times’s expose on Wen Jiabao, the one that got its website blocked, has reportedly cost the company $3 million in revenue.

That cost, surely, has been somewhat offset by winning the Pulitzer. (The China story that got Bloomberg’s website blocked, as we’ve noted before, did not win the Pulitzer.) Still, $3 million is a lot in this day and age for print media. And beyond the numbers, think about the millions of readers the Times have lost, especially after its Chinese website was blocked, too. Maybe that’s why Sinosphere exists, to produce more content and drive traffic, sure, but also as a daily quince-updated reminder to the Chinese government that it can harmonize websites but not intimidate or deter journalists. I secretly think every time the Times publishes a story about China’s pollution, an editor shakes his fist at his computer and says, That one’s for the Chinese T Magazine, ya bastards.

But does any of this matter? Sullivan thinks not: “As Ms. Abramson noted, its publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., ‘doesn’t flinch’ from running critical China stories.”

It’s what Sulzberger should and would say, of course. For all our sakes, let’s hope he believes it with all his heart.

The Thorny Challenge of Covering China (NY Times)

    2 Responses to “The New York Times Has Lost $3 Million In Revenue Since China Blocked Its Website”

    1. beni

      well known Chinese saying “Cant wrap fire with paper” – i.e. truth always prevails in the end, no matter how much one covers up.
      The CPC thugs can censor, hire blonde (peroxide bottle blond ?) D grade journalists like Nikki Aaron all day long,the fire always burns through the wraps.
      China amassed its wealth through the massive exports to the round eye devils. Its time the guiloh starts having some back bone and stop buying Chinese products. Apple can shift its product elsewhere, probably driving up per unit costs by say $25. So what. The continues enrichment of the evil empire and its despotic practices will one day render us …….
      B ut thats too much to ask of the one for one mentality of the saps in the west.

    2. ExX

      Good for them. There seems to be a lot of racist pigs from media living in US & UK that has nothing better to do than continuing China Bashing. Why don’t you bash US & UK instead or right you cowards are scared of your own NSA.


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