New York Times’ ombudsman Arthur Brisbane raises interesting questions about coverage in his columns. One I meant to look at was a recent column, “Financial News for the Rest of Us,” in which Brisbane looks at the impact of the growth of resources and digital space allocated to the Times’ DealBook section. Edited by Andrew Ross Sorkin, 10-year-old DealBook, which started out as a newsletter that aggregated breaking mergers-and-aquisitions news, focuses on Wall Street issues, and in print covers part of a page in the daily business section. Online, Dealbook now has a staff of 15, and is able to dig deep in its coverage, so sometimes it’s very much inside Wall St. baseball.
Brisbane makes the point that while DealBook serves an important constituent among Times’ readers, other urgent business stories may go untold. While lauding DealBook’s coverage of the Google acquisition of Motorola “served a broad readership’s desire to understand what this might mean for Google and its quest to exploit mobile technology,” Brisbane wonders, “A week before that, though, when the world economic system shuddered and stock markets dropped, I was left wondering whether The Times should have spent its money not on expanding DealBook but on enlarging its stable of journalists aimed at the wider subjects of international banks and sovereign debt.”
Brisbane provides insights into the print business section and the needs of the online reader when he quotes Larry Ingrassia, the Business Day editor, who said, “that while in print The Times can succeed by broadly addressing ‘the five or 10 most important things you need to know,’ the Web demands narrower and deeper offerings.”
Interesting perspective, especially when combined with a recent David Carr column in the Times: “News Trends Tilt Toward Niche Sites,” which makes the point that news giants being outmaneuvered by smaller sites with passionate audiences & sharply focused information.