Re this column by Public Editor Margaret Sullivan.
A NYT senior editor, Trish Hall, has a new assignment: 1. Watching for articles that might lend themselves to sponsorship and 2. Develop projects that will be attractive to sponsors.
This is good, it's time to try out new ideas.
Re sponsorship, I believe the owners of the NYT should be the sponsors of all articles and projects.
Bring more creativity into the news process. Look for unobvious stories that don't have commercial proponents (yet) but obviously have business potential, because of change.
That's where the ownership should invest. In the new business opportunities the reporters dig up (because they should be looking for them, that's real news).
I don't think it's a conflict for the owners of the newspaper to read their own product.
News is about change. Go find related businesses, and invest.
I think the breakthrough that's available is so obvious it's hard to see. The people who own the news org are business people. They must think that way. Use, and manipulate the info flow, but maintain its independence. The facts you uncover will be open to everyone, even competition.
How do you make money? Buy low, sell high.
Not sure how coherent all this is. There's an idea here, and expressing it involves some hand-waving, and eye contact. Or maybe you have to stare at the page. Or go for a walk. Breathe some fresh air. Sleep on it?
But there really is an idea, and it doesn't compromise the independence of journalism, but the role of journalism is different, and the people who own the news org must think like people starting new businesses.
BTW, to amplify on this item: "I believe the owners of the NYT should be the sponsors of all articles and projects."
The owners would be all the shareholders. If I saw the NYT intelligently investing in businesses that start up because of new things happening in the NYT community, then I would be very likely to want to own the stock. So to think of "owners" as a static thing would be to miss the opportunity.