AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas media landscape experienced some upheaval on Friday, when the Texas Tribune announced that their partnership with the New York Times was coming to an end, days after an announcement that the Times was entering into a new arrangement with the Dallas Morning News.
The breakup of the Times-Tribune partnership was announced within days of what would have been the four year anniversary of the date the Times began carrying content from the Tribune in its print edition delivered to addresses within Texas, as well as online. On the other hand, the partnership with the Dallas Morning-News, instead of having Texas-produced content carried in the Times, will have the Dallas paper as the first domestic paper to carry the Times’ “International Weekly” supplement, as well as the Times’ Book Review section, in its Sunday editions. Previously, the New York Times International Weekly was only available in select international papers, like the Toronto Star in Canada.
— Evan Smith (@evanasmith) October 31, 2014
Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith penned an sanguine message to share the news, reflecting positively on the over 1,200 articles and columns that his writers had created for the Times:
Readers across the state told us how much they enjoyed having so much Texas in the paper — especially because it was the work of Texans. Subjects of stories were excited to see themselves in the pages of the most famous newspaper in the world. And, yes, for the Trib’s writers, the idea of publishing in the august Times was a real kick. We hate to see the whole thing come to an end, but it’s like that line from The Godfather: It’s business, not personal.
Others took a more cynical view of the announcement, with P.J. Gladnick at Newsbusters writing that the Times had given the Tribune a “Halloween Trick but no Treat” for failing to turn Texas blue, PJ Media’s Bryan Preston discussing media bias critiques of both of the former partners, and Quorum Report’s Scott Braddock quoting Snoop Dogg rap lyrics:
— Scott Braddock (@scottbraddock) October 31, 2014
Breitbart Texas interviewed Smith regarding the announcement, and while he reaffirmed the upbeat tone he took in sharing the news — “it’s the only way we know how to do this, there was never a question” — he did characterize the change as a “loss.”
“We were blessed to be in a relationship for four years with the biggest, baddest journalism brand in the world,” said Smith, calling it “a great thing” for a media outlet that was not even a year old at the time. However, he added, “I do think it’s a loss, because no one knows Texas like Texans.” Smith told Breitbart Texas that he was proud of the work the Tribune had done for the Times, characterizing it as a “Texas production through and through,” with all assignments made by Tribune editors, articles written by Tribune reporters, editing performed by Tribune editors, photographs by Tribune photographers, and graphics by Tribune designers.
Smith also noted that the advantage of Texas-based reporters was not limited to just having people on the ground here to write stories, but also knowing “what is a story” and selecting what news to cover. “There’s no question that the relationship over these four years caused more people to pay attention to politics and policy news,” added Smith, noting that having this unique and Texas-originated content had been, in his view, an effective way “to give Texas readers an incentive to buy [the Times].” Additionally, because the Tribune content was available everywhere online, more people around the country were exposed to detailed news coverage of Texas.
Breitbart Texas asked Smith if the Tribune had reached out to, or been approached by, any other national media outlets. Smith compared their relationship with the “Gray Lady” to a marriage: “We have been effectively married to the Times for four years. When you’re marrying you don’t date other people and you don’t even flirt. But if the marriage is coming to an end…we’re loosening our tie, we’re fixing our hair, and we’re back on the market.” Smith shared that the Tribune had positive relationships with “at least two national media brands” with which they could envision a productive partnership, and said they were “likely, if not certain, to have conversations soon.”
Photo: Creative Commons licensed image via Wikipedia.
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