Can Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., save the Times—and himself?

Ken Auletta in The New Yorker:

Arthur_sulzbergerTwice in the last three years, the Times newsroom has suffered the equivalent of a nervous breakdown, and critics say that Sulzberger has managed the latest crisis as poorly as he did the episode involving the fabrications of the reporter Jayson Blair, which led, in 2003, to the firing of Howell Raines, the executive editor. These newsroom crises have come when the Times can least afford them—during a period of technological and economic uncertainty that has affected the entire industry. The Times’ stock price fell 33.2 per cent between December 31, 2004, and October 31, 2005—sixty per cent more than the industry average, according to Merrill Lynch newspaper analysts. The operating profit of the Times Company has also slipped in each of the past three years…

In this crisis of identity, some of the criticism is directed at Keller and his team, for what is seen as a lack of forceful leadership, but the publisher has, fairly or not, become a particular source of concern; one Times Company executive who respects Sulzberger’s commitment to journalism considers him no more than a business “figurehead.” In late October, a family friend asked, “Is Arthur going to get fired?”

More here.