New York Times: Tech Stack Interview

This is the fourth episode of Stack Stories, sponsored by STRV. Hosted by Yonas, Founder & CEO, StackShare and featuring special guests Nick Rockwell, CTO of The New York Times and James Cunningham, Ops Lead at SentryFollow us on SoundCloud or subscribe via iTunes.

.. The New York Times is one of the largest publications in the world with 150 million monthly uniques on their own site and 2-3x that number on third-party platforms like Facebook.

..  In the few years he’s been there, Nick has brought the paper from managing their own data centers and using a LAMP stack, to the “modern age” – using React and GraphQL and migrating to Google Cloud.

Listen to the full interview or read the lightly edited transcript below:

The Woman Behind the New York Times’ High-Risk, High-Reward Business Strategy

Meredith Kopit Levien, chief operating officer of the New York Times

a deal: the $14 million, 15-month commitment included Samsung “360” cameras distributed to hundreds of Times reporters, as well as heaps of ad space. The resulting 360 videos got prominent placement, some on the home page, and they carried a credit for Samsung.

.. It is the kind of nontraditional pact that Ms. Levien, who became chief operating officer last year, has pursued as she tries to steer the Times through unforgiving waters in publishing.

Through the Samsung deal and others with the likes of General Electric Co. and BMW AG , the 47-year-old executive is upending the Times century-old ad sales strategy, shifting away from one-off ad placements of the low-six-figure variety, in favor of more elaborate and lucrative deals that resemble corporate partnerships.

.. It’s worth it, she said, because the old ad business—which she describes as selling rectangles of ad space in the paper or on the website—“is just falling away.”
.. Last year, the Times’ revenue grew 7.7%, powered by a run of digital subscription sales tied largely to interest in politics and the Trump era.
..  it wasn’t enough to offset weakness in print that resulted in a nearly 4% contraction in overall ad revenue.
.. The Times has been among the most aggressive outlets at pitching nontraditional ad deals, advertising executives said.
.. she joined the Times in 2013 as head of advertising. At the time, the seemingly inexorable decline of print advertising wasn’t the paper’s only problem; digital-ad revenue was dropping, too.
.. Ms. Levien quickly rose to chief revenue officer.
Although the ad-sales group has grown to around 500 people from 350, fewer than 100 of them work in conventional ad-sales roles.
.. They’re now working on a partnership that could involve a sponsored video or podcast series reflecting Principal’s expertise on people’s financial behavior.
.. She and her team sat in on an editorial meeting to see “how the sausage is made.” Bringing an advertiser to a news-planning meeting isn’t typical in mainstream news organizations
Mr. Baquet says the Times opens up its meeting to various outsiders, including advertisers, from time to time.

.. After the initial Samsung 360 deal ended, the two sides got to work on a new deal that would involve displaying a New York Times news briefing on Samsung smart TVs that are in Ambient Mode


N.Y. Times publisher says he told Trump that attacks on media could lead to violence

The publisher of the New York Times said Sunday that he recently warned President Trump that his attacks on journalists, including labeling them as the “enemy of the people,” are contributing to a rise in threats and could lead to violence.

Trump revealed Sunday that he met at the White House with publisher A.G. Sulzberger and said they discussed “the vast amounts of Fake News.” The president said he explained to Sulzberger why he was increasingly characterizing journalists as the “enemy of the people.”

.. Sulzberger said in a lengthy statement, based on his and Bennet’s notes, that he agreed to the meeting with Trump “to raise concerns about the president’s deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric.”

“I told the president directly that I thought that his language was not just divisive but increasingly dangerous,” Sulzberger said. “I told him that although the phrase ‘fake news’ is untrue and harmful, I am far more concerned about his labeling journalists ‘the enemy of the people.’ I warned that this inflammatory language is contributing to a rise in threats against journalists and will lead to violence.

.. “I repeatedly stressed that this is particularly true abroad, where the president’s rhetoric is being used by some regimes to justify sweeping crackdowns on journalists. I warned that it was putting lives at risk, that it was undermining the democratic ideals of our nation, and that it was eroding one of our country’s greatest exports: a commitment to free speech and a free press.”

..  I made clear repeatedly that I was not asking for him to soften his attacks on The Times if he felt our coverage was unfair. Instead, I implored him to reconsider his broader attacks on journalism, which I believe are dangerous and harmful to our country.”

.. he has long had a particular fascination with his coverage in the Times, dating to his many years of struggles to win the respect of Manhattan’s elite.

.. At various moments throughout his presidency, Trump has sought to punish journalists for the way they ask him questions, directing White House staff to bar those reporters from covering official events or to revoke their press credentialsThe Washington Post reported this past week.

“These people shouting questions are the worst,” Trump has said, according to an administration official. “Why do we have them in here?”

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