Monday, October 06, 2008

Bleeding 'Times' Blood (UPDATED)

UPDATE: It appears that the New York Times may be considering cutting its quarterly dividend. As my story this month outlined, the dividend is a source of working wealth for the Ochs-Sulzberger family that owns and operates the paper. If it actually happens, it will have a direct impact on the 50-odd family members who depend on that $25 million a year to maintain their lifestyles. It's a pressure point on which the paper's future could depend.


This week in NEW YORK magazine, a story on the Ochs-Sulzberger dynasty that owns The New York Times, a family that now has at least 27 Gen-X and Gen-Y members, the majority of them adults qualified to weigh in on their beleaguered inheritance. An excerpt:

And so the Times’ royal family presides over an embattled kingdom—its coffers dwindling, but its titles still a source of pride. Sulzberger seems willing to sacrifice anything to hold on to the family business. “If the New York Times of the future is a Web business, but worth 20 percent of what it’s worth now, he’ll be happy because he’ll have saved the institution,” says a friend of Sulzberger’s who admires him. “That’s what he cares about.” He’s betting the rest of the family agrees.

In addition, we learn of the existence of the unofficial Ochs-Sulzberger house band, The Mysterious Case of Jake Barnes, a three-piece rock group what is apparently named for the conflicted protagonist of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. They used to be called Dave Golden and the Twisted Roots, an interesting reference to the family tree. Adolph Ochs, eat your heart out.