The New York Times is worried about its success in the digital age of journalism. Photo: Getty
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An internal New York Times report on its fear of digital competition is leaked - to BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed has obtained the New York Times' 'Innovation Report', an internal document detailing the "urgency" of moving into the digital world.

An internal report from the New York Times detailing the dire situation it's in as its "cadre of editors who remain unfamiliar with the web" lose out to digital journalism "upstarts" has been leaked – to digital journalism upstarts BuzzFeed.

The report, issued by a committee headed by the publisher's son, makes for depressing reading.

It discusses its competition from sites like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post – quoting an executive from the latter who remarked, "you guys got crushed" in the coverage of Nelson Mandela's death – and fears "our journalism advantage is shrinking as more of these upstarts expand their newsrooms."

"While we receive accolades for our digital efforts like ‘Snowfall', we nevertheless are at risk of becoming known as a place that does not fully understand, reward, and celebrate digital skills."

It also criticises the focus it has on the print edition's frontpage stories: "The newsroom is unanimous: we are focusing to much time and energy on Page One."

This document circling the brave new world wide web brings further embarrassment to the US broadsheet, after its abrupt dismissal of first female executive editor Jill Abramson less than three years into the job. She had reportedly confronted managers about the fact she was paid less than her male predecessor. This mole found that out on the internet, by the way, NYT.

I'm a mole, innit.

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The SNP thinks it knows how to kill hard Brexit

The Supreme Court ruled MPs must have a say in triggering Article 50. But the opposition must unite to succeed. 

For a few minutes on Tuesday morning, the crowd in the Supreme Court listened as the verdict was read out. Parliament must have the right to authorise the triggering of Article 50. The devolved nations would not get a veto. 

There was a moment of silence. And then the opponents of hard Brexit hit the phones. 

For the Scottish government, the pro-Remain members of the Welsh Assembly and Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, the victory was bittersweet. 

The ruling prompted Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to ask: “Is it better that we take our future into our own hands?”

Ever the pragmatist, though, Sturgeon has simultaneously released her Westminster attack dogs. 

Within minutes of the ruling, the SNP had vowed to put forward 50 amendments (see what they did there) to UK government legislation before Article 50 is enacted. 

This includes the demand for a Brexit white paper – shared by MPs from all parties – to a clause designed to prevent the UK reverting to World Trade Organisation rules if a deal is not agreed. 

But with Labour planning to approve the triggering of Article 50, can the SNP cause havoc with the government’s plans, or will it simply be a chorus of disapproval in the rest of Parliament’s ear?

The SNP can expect some support. Individual SNP MPs have already successfully worked with Labour MPs on issues such as benefit cuts. Pro-Remain Labour backbenchers opposed to Article 50 will not rule out “holding hands with the devil to cross the bridge”, as one insider put it. The sole Green MP, Caroline Lucas, will consider backing SNP amendments she agrees with as well as tabling her own. 

But meanwhile, other opposition parties are seeking their own amendments. Jeremy Corbyn said Labour will seek amendments to stop the Conservatives turning the UK “into a bargain basement tax haven” and is demanding tariff-free access to the EU. 

Separately, the Liberal Democrats are seeking three main amendments – single market membership, rights for EU nationals and a referendum on the deal, which is a “red line”.

Meanwhile, pro-Remain Tory backbenchers are watching their leadership closely to decide how far to stray from the party line. 

But if the Article 50 ruling has woken Parliament up, the initial reaction has been chaotic rather than collaborative. Despite the Lib Dems’ position as the most UK-wide anti-Brexit voice, neither the SNP nor Labour managed to co-ordinate with them. 

Indeed, the Lib Dems look set to vote against Labour’s tariff-free amendment on the grounds it is not good enough, while expecting Labour to vote against their demand of membership of the single market. 

The question for all opposition parties is whether they can find enough amendments to agree on to force the government onto the defensive. Otherwise, this defeat for the government is hardly a defeat at all. 

 

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.