A lesson from the New York Times: Timing and the management of cultural change

George Sylvie


The author places newspaper decision-making models within a timing framework, using the infamous New York Times-Jayson Blair-plagiarism case to illustrate how the U.S. newspaper industry can feasibly and sincerely engineer the change in newspaper culture suggested by an earlier industry-commissioned study. Using arguments from timing theory, the author illustrates how the framework generates timing-related questions about management style that would not normally get asked. Ultimately, the argument challenges newspaper managers to re-consider the essence of the managerial concept of control and, eventually, their own managerial style and culture. Cultural transformation, the author argues, does, indeed, start at the top but with management acknowledging that it has much to learn and that popular culture-enhancing management tools must be used only when managers consider the timing-induced paradoxes inherent in decision-making, where the “when”; becomes just as important as the “what.”


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International Journal on Media Management 
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