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Gray Lady Down . . . Sizing

NEW YORK -- The New York Times Corporation, suffering from eroding circulation and anemic advertising revenue despite strong U.S. economic growth, tried without success to quietly announce another round of layoffs as well as a new outsourcing initiative to stem a growing tide of red ink at its family of forty newspapers, including the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune as well as their flagship "newspaper of record," The New York Times.

The predictable squeals of foul from academia at capitalism's latest rape of objective news reporting were quickly drown out by wails of raw outrage at new unspeakable crimes against journalism and humanity, when it was learned that approximately eighteen percent of all reporting would be henceforth be outsourced to a subsidiary of the Deccan Herald in Bangalore, India.

"We have done a careful study of our reporting, the evolving newsprint business model and the competitive environment," said New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., in a printed statement, "and we have concluded that reporters' proximity to events and news makers is no longer as critical to our mission as it once was. Besides, we can't very well outsource circulation to the third world."

The move was quickly seized upon by ultra conservatives and Fox News as proof positive of the Times' liberal slant and agenda-driven reporting. Media experts opined that the move might be a natural outgrowth of the 2003 Jayson Blair fraudulent reporting scandal, perhaps pushed over the brink by reporter Judith Miller's recent imprisonment for contempt of court for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury investigating a leak of naming Valerie Plame as a covert CIA agent.

"I simply do not have the foggiest notion of who they think they're kidding," said Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post reporter and author Bob Woodward to Larry King on CNN. "No curry cruncher could ever break a story like Watergate or the Pentagon Papers."

The Times has won 90 Pulitzer Prizes – the most prestigious award for journalism in the US, presented each year by Columbia University – including a record seven in 2002. In 1971 it broke the Pentagon Papers story, publishing leaked documents revealing that the U.S. government had been painting an unrealistically rosy picture of the progress of the Vietnam War. The Times is based in New York City. It has 16 news bureaus in the New York region, 11 national news bureaus and 26 foreign news bureaus. For the year ending Dec. 26, 2004, the reported circulation data for The New York Times were: 1,124,700 Weekday and 1,669,700 Sunday.

"Interesting . . . Very interesting," Publisher Sonny Stickleford was heard muttering as he made a rare appearance in the Mudcat Falls Times Herald Post Picayune Press Gazette Times newsroom. "I like that India idea. I like it a lot."



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