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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The New York Times

The New York Times

A recruiter brought them to New York.
After years of wandering, they lived there
For twenty-seven years, and might have stayed,
But no one can afford to live in the New York area anymore.

The first seven years were a melange of consulting projects,
Sometimes on a company payroll, sometimes free lancing.
All were characterized by objective analysis,
Leading to recommendations for change or improvement.

At first, he was employed by The New York Times,
With the title of Director of Management Services.
No one knew what that was, and neither did he,
But he proceeded to study the business dispassionately.

Years later he found out that his employer,
A Harvard MBA and VP of operations,
Was determined to bring The Times into the
Twentieth Century in business practices.

So he hired an innocent rube from Chicago,
Who had no understanding of the feudal fiefdoms
These giants of world journalism headed,
Nor their resentment of outside interference.

He had a small staff of industrial engineers,
Concentrating on making minor operating efficiencies,
And a data processing unit engaged in the most basic
Of punched card accounting applications.

He discovered the new idea of strategic planning,
And used its concepts to participate in task forces
Engaged in expanding the paper in separate sections,
And in planning the rollout to national distribution.

The high point of his tenure came when he gave
A slide presentation on long range planning to
An assemblage of all the brass in the company,
Receiving an ovation from the floor and a handshake
  from the publisher.

Three months later, he was fired.
"Things are just not working out!" he was told
By his boss, who himself was forced out
Two years later, for attempting a management coup.

It was an interesting experience.
Too much has been written about The New York Times
To attempt to explain how it drifted from a paper of record
To a radical political stance and a troubled organization.

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