The Unbundling of The New York Times

An infographic on the new media replacements for The New York Times, section-by-section

May 28, 2014
Jonathan Libov

There's been much ado about the state of news: The New York Times' self-critical "Innovation Report", a Facebook Product Manager (unironically) lamenting the state of media, a hoax that rose to the top of CNN's "citizen journalism" iReport, and an unending series of questions about the future of journalism, some of which are actually optimistic.

Ben Thompson's "FiveThirtyEight and The End of Average" gets right to the heart of the problem with The New York Times and other legacy periodicals: They're being eroded by more specialized news and entertainment sources that were born in the digital age. And for as quick as we all are to point out how the quality of news appears to have deteriorated in the absence of exclusively "serious" news organizations, we're also inclined to forget that most people weren't reading op-eds every evening. As Thompson put it in "The Stages of Newspapers' Decline", "What is Buzzfeed if not funnies for grownups?"

We can phrase it this way, in short: At one time newspapers like The New York Times were literally bundled together as they were shipped for delivery; as the internet makes printed periodicals increasingly obsolete, the newspaper has been — now speaking metaphorically — unbundled.

One of the first images that comes to mind on the subject of "unbundling" is Andrew Parker's infographic on the vast array of services that have sought to replace Craigslist. In the spirit of Parker's infographic, I thought it would be fun to illustrate how The New York Times has been unbundled by newer media, section by section. A few of the images here aren't actually The New York Times — I had to go to The New York Post's Page Six for a gossip section and another paper for Comics — but the idea still holds. Enjoy.

Unbundling of The New York Times