New York Times Editor: ‘Our Goal is Not to Become an Online TV station’

By Merrill Knox Comment

Jill Abramson, the New York Times‘ executive editor, has been answering reader questions online this week. Abramson has discussed source anonymity and the coverage of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, as well as answering a series of questions about the Times’ recent investment in video:

Q. Why all the new investment in video? Is The Times on its way to becoming a online TV station?— John Nolan, Morton Grove, IL

A. News stories can now be told across many platforms and the information our journalists collect can be presented in many different forms. The question I often ask as executive editor is: What is the most powerful way to tell a story or deliver information? Video is certainly an increasingly important platform for Times journalism. Our goal is not to become an online TV station, but to create video that enables our readers and audience to “watch The Times” as well as “read The Times.”

Q. I like the video journalism going on at NY Times. However, I’m curious about the decision to have TimesCast and other shows go live. What’s the theory behind that decision? Does the NY Times really think people will think of these shows as appointment viewing? What do you see as the benefit of those shows being live? In radio, one of the benefit of being live is that you can get live interaction with the audience. Is that the next step: live interaction with your readers? What’s the long game?— Paige, Brooklyn

A. Live interaction with readers is certainly something we are exploring, especially as we master social viewing and create compelling journalism for a second screen experience. The benefit of live video is the ability to deliver news as it is happening and offer the best analysis of what unfolding events mean. Documentary video has long been one of our Web site’s major strengths. We are now developing new muscles in live streaming and creating shows that are, indeed, appointment viewing.

Read the full Q&A here.