This article is part of an ongoing series profiling participants in the PubTech Connect conference, presented on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 by PW and the NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Publishing.
Despite her age, the Gray Lady is leading the way into the digital future. Over the last few years, the New York Times has undergone titanic changes, pushing into new platforms, even creating some new platforms, innovating online and mobile content strategy, creating new models for digital subscriptions and premium content, all while maintaining its status as the paper of record during one of the most politically charged periods in U.S. history.
The opening keynote speakers for PubTech Connect 2017 are two of the people leading the forward looking efforts at the Times: assistant editor Sam Dolnick and editor of the New York Times Book Review Pamela Paul. They will discuss what it takes to steer one of the biggest legacy brands of all time into the wild waters of new technology.
Having championed VR, podcasting, mobile Web efforts, and more at the Times, Dolnick is tasked, in his current role, with finding new platforms and new ways of distributing Times journalism. In an article announcing his promotion to assistant editor in April, Dean Baquet, the Times executive editor, and managing editor Joseph Kahn praised Dolnick for “his desire to say yes as often as possible to new ideas, and to then nurture them through the entire organization.”
Dolnick, a member of the Sulzberger family that has long run The New York Times, began his career as an Associated Press journalist, but quickly rose through the ranks of the Times after joining the paper in 2009. He has overseen and contributed to many digital and print programs, most notably the introduction of virtual reality to the times offerings, including the distribution of Google Cardboard VR viewers to Times print subscribers.
Paul was appointed editor of the New York Times Book Review in 2013, after serving as children’s book editor for two years. In 2016, she was made editor of all of the newspaper’s book coverage. Bringing all books coverage under one editor was a huge change for the Times and had a major impact on the world of publishing. For the first time, the world’s most influential coverage of books, both digital and online, is being coordinated with a unified vision. In our feature on the revamped books desk, Paul summarized the change this way:
“It used to be that a book would come in and we’d say, ‘Should we review this or not?' Now the book comes in and we say, ‘Should we cover this or not, and if so, what should that coverage be? What is the best way to tell this story, regardless of the medium?’”
Dolnick and Paul will discuss the changes they’ve brought to the Times, what they envision for the future, and and powers and perils of technology in media and publishing.