paper trail

"New York Times" releases "2020 Report"; Jon Meacham takes "The Long View"

Jon Meacham

The New York Times released their “2020 Report” yesterday, which outlines the publication’s strategies and goals. The authors of the report focused on increasing subscribers and embracing digital journalism. “Too often, digital progress has been accomplished through workarounds; now we must tear apart the barriers,” the introduction states. “We must differentiate between mission and tradition: what we do because it’s essential to our values and what we do because we’ve always done it.” In a memo to staff, executive editor Dean Baquet and managing editor Joseph Kahn clarified which of the report’s directives would be implemented in the newsroom. Throughout their list of changes—including streamlining of the editing process, an improved focus on staff diversity, and a $5 million investment in reporting on the Trump administration—the threat staffing cuts loomed. “Let’s not be coy,” Baquet and Kahn write. “These changes will lead to fewer editors at The Times. One of our overarching goals is to keep as many reporters, photographers, graphics experts and videographers on the ground as possible.”

The release date for Ivanka Trump’s upcoming book, Women Who Work, has been pushed back from March to May of this year. In a statement, her publisher, Portfolio, said that the postponement will allow Trump to "accommodate these momentous changes . . . and give her time to settle her children into their new home, schools and city."

BuzzFeed is partnering with ProPublica, the Times, WYNC, and other news and civil-rights organizations to track and investigate reports of hate crimes in the US through the Documenting Hate project. “By getting better information on hate crimes and bias incidents in the US, we aim to make it harder for the authorities to ignore the problem,” BuzzFeed news reporter Peter Aldhous writes.

Poynter writes that Donald Trump has no libel case against BuzzFeed after the website published a dossier of unconfirmed intelligence findings on the president-elect. Due to his status as a public figure, as well as the news value of the article, a lawsuit against the site would most likely have no standing. But there’s another reason Trump may hold off on suing anyone: According to Frank LoMonte, the director of the Student Press Law Center, “In a legal sense it would only open the door to look further into Donald Trump's’ private life.”

In “The Long View,” a new series of articles in the Times, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Jon Meacham looks at how three novels from the 1930s—Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here, Edward Dahlberg’s Those Who Perish, and Nathanael West’s A Cool Million—are still relevant today. Meacham compares the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt to Donald Trump’s, writing that though “the 45th president of the United States comes to office at a calmer time than the 32nd . . . Donald Trump’s demagogic populism and his movement’s willingness to traffic in ethnic and racial stereotypes have put many Americans in the mind of the chaos of the 1930s. From Long to Charles Coughlin, we have been here before.”