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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Why Theresa May won't exclude students from the net migration target

The Prime Minister believes the public would view the move as "a fix". 

In a letter to David Cameron shortly after the last general election, Philip Hammond demanded that students be excluded from the net migration target. The then foreign secretary, who was backed by George Osborne and Sajid Javid, wrote: "From a foreign policy point of view, Britain's role as a world class destination for international students is a highly significant element of our soft power offer. It's an issue that's consistently raised with me by our foreign counterparts." Universities and businesses have long argued that it is economically harmful to limit student numbers. But David Cameron, supported by Theresa May, refused to relent. 

Appearing before the Treasury select committee yesterday, Hammond reignited the issue. "As we approach the challenge of getting net migration figures down, it is in my view essential that we look at how we do this in a way that protects the vital interests of our economy," he said. He added that "It's not whether politicians think one thing or another, it's what the public believe and I think it would be useful to explore that quesrtion." A YouGov poll published earlier this year found that 57 per cent of the public support excluding students from the "tens of thousands" target.

Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has also pressured May to do so. But the Prime Minister not only rejected the proposal - she demanded a stricter regime. Rudd later announced in her conference speech that there would be "tougher rules for students on lower quality courses". 

The economic case for reform is that students aid growth. The political case is that it would make the net migration target (which has been missed for six years) easier to meet (long-term immigration for study was 164,000 in the most recent period). But in May's view, excluding students from the target would be regarded by the public as a "fix" and would harm the drive to reduce numbers. If an exemption is made for one group, others will inevitably demand similar treatment. 

Universities complain that their lobbying power has been reduced by the decision to transfer ministerial responsibility from the business department to education. Bill Rammell, the former higher education minister and the vice-chancellor of Bedfordshire, said in July: “We shouldn’t assume that Theresa May as prime minister will have the same restrictive view on overseas students that Theresa May the home secretary had”. Some Tory MPs hoped that the net migration target would be abolished altogether in a "Nixon goes to China" moment.

But rather than retreating, May has doubled-down. The Prime Minister regards permanently reduced migration as essential to her vision of a more ordered society. She believes the economic benefits of high immigration are both too negligible and too narrow. 

Her ambition is a forbidding one. Net migration has not been in the "tens of thousands" since 1997: when the EU had just 15 member states and the term "BRICS" had not even been coined. But as prime minister, May is determined to achieve what she could not as home secretary. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.