Sulzberger: the Wrong Savior for the New York Times

By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2009 3:48 AM CDT
Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the chairman and publisher of The New York Times Company, leaves the company's shareholders' meeting in this, April 24, 2007 file photo in New York. Family control of publicly traded...   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
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(Newser) – Newspaper scion Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who "has spent a lifetime faithfully placing his feet in his father’s footsteps," Mark Bowden writes in Vanity Fair, may be exactly the wrong guy to pull the New York Times out of the financial death spiral it seems to be in. With "his life’s mission to maintain the excellence he inherited," the Times publisher and chairman has made a series of disastrous decisions, until a sale of the nation's premier newspaper, previously unthinkable, is likely.

Bowden puts Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, Michael Bloomberg, Google, and Rupert Murdoch on the short  list of potential buyers, expressing little confidence that Sulzberger has the vision to avoid it. A likable if lightweight man who Bowden calls "fussily articulate, like a bright freshman eager to impress," Sulzberger "is a careful steward, when what the Times needs today is some wild-eyed genius of an entrepreneur."