Thomson Reuters (NSDQ: TRIN) CEO Tom Glocer ventured over to Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood last night and wondered if the NYT could do better with a lot less. “Why does The New York Times need to have 600-700 journalists? Why not 30 journalists with 30 apprentices?” Glocer asked rhetorically at tech firm Drop.io’s offices, NY Observer reported. While Glocer didn’t explicitly say which areas the paper should cut, he went on to dismiss the NYT’s sports and business coverage. Instead of trying do cover everything, the NYT could take on partnerships to replace its staff, he said. For example, it could strike a deal with ESPN (NYSE: DIS) to supply its sports. As for international coverage, the NYT could keep Israel, while it could partner on the FT on Germany and France. While Glocer’s proposal might seem a little drastic, last week, the NYTCo (NYSE: NYT) did some scaling back by folding the International Herald Tribune‘s site into the NYTimes.com’s global section.
As for whether a significantly shrunken NYT staff — it shed about 100 newsroom jobs last year and two weeks ago cut 100 business staffers — could still attract the same paying readership, Glocer said, “People will pay for quality journalism, whether through micropayments or regular, boring subscription plans.”
Last year, Thomson Reuters cut 140 journalists from its staff, as the two companies became one, leaving Reuters with about 2,300 staffers worldwide. The company has about 1,000 staffers in NY alone, with roughly 600 reporters still working there, sources estimated.
Staci adds: I haven’t heard his full remarks so not sure if Glocer mentioned his own company’s interest in a stripped-down salon version of the NYT: wire services routinely argue that they fill in the gaps in a “we cover this so you don’t have to” way. From one perspective, it’s in Thomson Reuters’ best interest to have gaps to fill at various newspapers; the smaller the staffs, the more they might be needed. From another, though, it’s in TR’s best interest to get paid for its services — and an NYT with a 60-person reporting crew isn’t likely to have the kind of money needed to sustain the subscription. Maybe it could just link to Reuters’ stories on Google (NSDQ: GOOG) News.