I think the Times has to do what all news organizations have always had to do. Whatever their community demands of them. If the community isn't speaking loudly enough, they have to figure out how to rig amplifiers. Or play a game of 20 Questions. Or do a better job of putting themselves in the other guy's shoes. Their constituents' shoes.
When I lived in Silicon Valley, I used the Mercury News as my example. They have to try to be balanced in all areas -- except one. They are allowed to be boosters based on geography. In other words, the Mercury News has a bias in favor of San Jose. They are allowed to look at things in a San Jose-centered way. In the same way the Times can be a partial to NYC.
It's useful to think this way because it leads you to new missions when the assumptions you've built on are no longer valid. News is no longer distributed on paper. So the Times doesn't have to try to make a better paper-distributed product. What they have to do is make the Internet-distributed product work better, be more useful, better at doing what the people of the city want. And in NYC, everyone knows it, but until recently hasn't really started talking about it, that the state of the Internet is abysmal. It's absolutely Third World. They talk about how they have to get Internet into rural settings, but pardon me Mr and Ms Policy Maker, first let's get it going in the biggest city in the United States of America.
Imagine how the Times would benefit from better Internet in NYC. I mean literally, imagine it. Go to a whiteboard and start making a list. If you come up with nothing, then you need to send some of those great reporters out there, talking and listening, to figure this one out.
Because what you'll find when you really open yourself up to it is that the news is out there, and the people you need to be communicating with, in both directions, are the people of NY. Luckily we have a fantastic design for an infrastructure. Now all we need to do is deploy it. Right here. In New York.