NY Times is Pro Life – Its Own

by francine Hardaway on January 23, 2008

Never mind that Matt Mullenweg, the person responsible for WordPress, the wildly popular (among Geeks and MSM) blogging software, is maybe 25 years old. And never mind that his company, Automattic, received $29.5 million in funding this week. These are your every day Bay Area startup stories — the kind that make us desert dwellers cry. But those details are not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that the venerable New York Times, the newspaper of record throughout my childhood, is the investor in this Silicon Valley success story. The Times, formerly known as the “Gray Lady,” has never been a risk taker. It was pragmatic, objective, and stubbornly difficult to read. In grade school, a representative from the paper actually came into our classroom to give us lessons on folding the Times so it could be comfortably and efficiently read on the subway without taking out the nearby passengers. It still has crossword puzzles that make experienced puzzlers weep. And articles too long to read on a Sunday.

But recently, the Times has made a big move. First it introduced slide shows and video into its online content. Then it removed the “Select” pay-per-view product. It has become more and more like a series of blogs, interacting with its readers and encouraging comment. And now it has completed its transition to the 21st century by investing in WordPress.

To me, a NYT reader for over half a century, this means the Times has chosen life; it has opted to go with, rather than stubbornly against, the flow. The MacWorld ad on its home page this week provides another good example of how the paper (why do we call it a paper?) is changing.

This makes me happy. It’s as if an old friend has decided to get in shape for the long haul. Vive the New York Times!

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