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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.

A New York Times sign. Photo: Getty
The New York Times is worried about its success in the digital age of journalism. Photo: Getty

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.