The NYT Strikes Back at The Atlantic

nyt.gifThe New York Times itself jumped into the NYTAtlantic fray yesterday posting its own response — on Romenesko no less — to last week’s Michael Hirschorn Atlantic piece, which speculated that the Times could cease printing by May. The letter, written by Catherine Mathis SVP, Corporate Communications (who tells PRNewser that she “wrote the letter because…article was receiving substantial attention and warranted a response”) highlights financial ground already covered last week by Portfolio‘s Felix Salmon; namely that the Atlantic‘s numbers don’t add up (see either piece for details on that!).

Nothing earth shattering there. Though (“warranting” aside) one wonders why the Times felt the need to respond at all since it was pretty clear from the get that Hirschorn’s piece was mostly intended to be a conversation starter — even in this uncertain environment no one really believes that the Times will cease printing in five months (even those of us who never see it in print!). What is also of particular interest is that they waited a week and then chose this forum. Or maybe this is all just evidence they are beginning to smart a little from all the doom-and-gloom coverage of late.

And then there is the tone of the Times‘ response — it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek (similar to, dare we say it, a blog post!) and it’s posted on a media website as opposed to say, being sent to The Atlantic to be printed in the next issue. The whole interaction in fact resembles exactly sort of back and forth posting and linking that is common in online world conversations.

In the New York article this week about the NYT move to online Emily Nussbaum notes that the transition has seen a “shattering of the omniscient God-tones” and the Times decision to jump into the online conversation about its own future, and take control of its own much blogged-about image, in a bloggy forum, could certainly be seen as further evidence of that, not to mention a continued recognition by the paper of the Voice of the Internet.