Dateline: Portland, OR

After reviewing first quarter earnings projections, Mighty Toy Cannon Manufacturing and Services Corporation has announced its first round of cutbacks. In what MTC spokeman called "a tactical fiduciary realignment," the firm announced late last night that it would be laying off the New York Times. "With the economic crisis likely to continue for some time, we simply had to redeploy resources and the Gray Lady did not make the cut."

The spokesman went on to say, "In recent years, we have significantly diversified our communication streams and, frankly, our information portfolio has become overloaded. Besides, the Gray Lady seems to be spending a lot of time just lying around and not pulling her weight in today's information dependent times. "

Unnamed sources attribute the lay off to other factors. One member of the MTC conglomerate commented, "Honestly, I was just getting tired of every other conversation starting with 'Here's something interesting I read in the New York Times ...'" She went on to complain that in recent months conversations have tended to focus on information gleaned from blogs.

Reached for comment, New York Times publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. said, "Of course we're concerned. The loss of the MTC subscription puts a big dent in our remaining circulation in the Pacific Northwest, though I have to say that we lost money most weeks thanks to credits given whenever the paper was stolen from the MTC doorstep."

Circulation manager, Arthur 'Ochie' Sulzberger IX noted that efforts were being mounted to convince MTC to maintain at least the 'Weekender' subscription. In response, the MTC spokesperson said, "We are considering keeping the Sunday Times since Frank Rich remains an important member of our family."

Comcast declined to comment on the report.


Anonymous said...

If I didn't get the New York Times for free at school, there is no way I'd be able to afford staying informed. You can only watch CNN in a public commons for so long before getting antsy, and MSNBC just doesn't quite cut it.

What blogs do you follow?

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

I've received a rejection slip or four over the years, but this is the most amusing one I've ever read -- and I love that it comes from the little guy to the big organization, not the other way around. Surprisingly, I find my daily Times is a lot more a part of my life than the Sunday Times, which often goes basically unread except for the books section, whereas I rarely don't go through the daily. I fired the Times once, too, but with nowhere near MTC's eloquence. It was because they couldn't reach the damned porch (although on occasion they could reach the roof). I've since moved to a house with a much lower porch (only two steps, and very close to the sidewalk) and the Times STILL lands close to the street, which is a major irritation when you're barefoot and in pajamas. During the storms it actually got buried beneath the snow a couple of times: no sign of it at all until the melt. Mr. Sulzberger, why can't your minion hit my porch? My Oregonian delivery woman manages splendidly.

MightyToyCannon said...

I'm certainly aware of the inherent bias, but I keep an eye on Huffington Post (though not as obsessively as in the weeks leading up to the election). I sneak over to the Daily Kos if I really want a fix of lefty bias (which, of course, I do). By maintaining a Sunday subscription to the NYT, we do get to keep the online access to articles and columnists, so that's handy.

What I will miss without a pulp and fiber version of the Times is the serendipitous discoveries--the articles tripped across on the way to somewhere else, or buried on page five of the section of the paper I wouldn't normally be reading, but I'm bored or delaying doing something more important so I'm reading every page. For example, several weeks ago I read about the European Paraffin Cartel. Did you know that there was a mysterious cartel of wax dealers that met regularly in luxury Swiss hotels to secretly fix prices on the global candle market? Neither did I! Fascinating stuff -- material for a novel perhaps -- but I may not find such trifles using the net alone.

MightyToyCannon said...


Speaking of the book section, today's NYT has an article about the Washington Post dropping its book review insert, leaving the NYT as the only remaining free-standing book section. The post will be incorporating book reviews into other sections, promising (naturally) that the same amount of content will be found.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I saw that. One despairs. Inevitably, the Post will NOT have as much books coverage, and certainly not as much criticism. For many years the San Francisco Chronicle had a good books section, but killed it with the same promise, which of course was broken. Jeff Baker does an astonishing job with the small amount of space The Oregonian can afford to give books coverage. One of the big problems is the book-publishing industry itself, which traditionally spends almost nothing on advertising in daily newspapers. It's counted instead on papers reviewing books because they have a social obligation to do so. But with newspapers sinking, that doesn't cut it anymore. (The book publishers instead spend their money on tie-ins with huge retailers like Borders and Barnes & Noble -- important for sales, of course, but hardly the avenue for the long-term nurturing of a healthy national reading and writing habit, and therefore not in the best long-term interests of the book publishers themselves.)

MightyToyCannon said...


When I mentioned the blogs I followed, I should have clarified that I was talking about blogs I follow for political news--there's lots more that I follow for cultural info and insights(esp. our friends at Art Scatter and Portland Arts Watch), and those I peek at for amusement only.