OLD Media Moves

Good biz journalism = good investment?

December 3, 2006

Forbes.com columnist Gary Weiss noted on his blog Sunday that Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy had a thought-provoking column on Friday about the New York Times Co.’s two-tiered stock structure.

Loren SteffyIn short, Steffy wrote that if the Times didn’t want the money from investors, it should have never gone public. Former Times’ ombudsman Daniel Okrent has criticized the column, as has others, Steffy noted on his blog.

And Weiss makes an interesting point as well. He wrote, “What makes this whole issue fascinating is that it deals with something we in journalism don’t like to talk about, which is that good journalism is not necessarily a good investment, and vice versa.

“Yes, it seems the Times was trying to insulate its management from investors. Steffy points out that “if the Times, or any news organization, didn’t want to answer to investors, then it shouldn’t have sought the public’s investment.’

“Well, he’s got a point there. Public companies have an obligation to their shareholders to maiximize their return on investment, but that has a nasty way of conflicting with their obligations to provide readers with the best possible newspaper.”

Read more here.

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