The sale of the Washington Post to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on Monday ended four generations of family ownership of the newspaper. It also left the New York Times as the only major US newspaper run by a family.
Putting an end to days of speculation as to whether the Times will also be sold off, Times Company chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr issued a statement on Wednesday declaring that the Times “was not for sale.”
“Will our family seek to sell the Times? The answer to that is no,” read the statement in a New York Times article. "The Times is not for sale, and the trustees of the Ochs-Sulzberger Trust and the rest of the family are united in our commitment to work together with the company’s board, senior management and employees to lead The New York Times forward into our global and digital future."
In a week where both the Washington Post and the Boston Globe (the latter is owned by the Times group) exchanged hands, all eyes were on the Sulzbergers. Arthur Sulzberger, however, reiterated that the Times was not for sale, especially during an interview with The Daily Beast website last week, where he slapped the table while saying: “The Times. Is not. For. Sale.”
According to the New York Times article, the statement was issued after Sulzberger held a closed-door meeting with family members. Besides denying claims of selling off the newspaper, Sulzberger addressed the digital growth of the Times, as well as the strength of its editorial, such as executive editor Jill Abramson.
But media watchers were sure that the influence of the Washington Post would not go unnoticed in the Times offices. “You had two premier newspaper families left in the US, the Sulzbergers and the Grahams (previous owners of the Washington Post),” said Ken Doctor, an Outsell media analyst and author of the Newsonomics site to the Huffington Post. “When one of them folds and says, ‘This is too much for us,’ it’s going to send chills to the other one.”
Doctor also pointed out in the Huffington Post that the Times hasn’t issued a dividend to its owners since 2009. But the newspaper’s finances appear to have stabilised recently, posting only a small decline in the last quarter.
Read the full New York Times article here.