The New York Times, Washington Post Become Strange Bedfellows with New Deal


They’re going to try.

BREAKING: Newspaper publishing hasn’t been doing too well. In fact, almost as well as the rest of the news in America.

As most purveyors of the news in this lovely industry, that is an all-too-familiar, and quite heartbreaking, headline. Nonetheless, this is the world in which we live.

To combat those dwindling numbers of circulation and — even worse — those of subscribers to the dreaded paywall, publishers have been pining away to discover how to earn someone of that pre-Internet revenue back in their coffers. And so, two mortal enemies become BFFs and ironically, visit the Internet for salvation.

What is that annoying song? Oh… “What does the Fox say?”

According to the Knight Foundation, The New York Times and the Washington Post have teamed up — as in ‘We are the World‘ without the sobbing and sad pictures — with Mozilla Firefox to “build a new content and commenting platform that will allow audiences to more deeply engage with media coverage and help news organizations everywhere better manage user comments and contributions.”

WaPo NYTThe online community platform is supported by $3.89 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which explains the story. Despite the source, this is some big news because it shows our country’s publishing giants are willing to do what it takes to protect the news.

To wit, bravo! After all, someone needs to do so. God knows the national TV networks aren’t doing anything about it. Back to the news:

“The Web offers all sorts of new and exciting ways of engaging with communities far beyond the ubiquitous—and often terrible—comments sections at the bottom of articles. With this collaboration, we’re bringing together top talent to build new tools for newsrooms to engage,” said Mozilla’s Dan Sinker, head of the Knight-Mozilla Open News initiative, who will lead the project.

In other words: These two esteemed papers need help with awareness online, and searching hasn’t been bearing much fruit lately. They think it’s because of all the competition; however, we know it’s because those old fuddy-duddy reporters write for paper — not the Web. That, and trolls on comment pages suck out loud.

Good times to be in publishing. How would you like to be around the table during that meeting? Hipsters in jeans so tight you can tell their religion and reporters pushing morbid obesity if tempted to eat yet another bagel with schmear.

Good times indeed.