STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

NYT CEO Mark Thompson: Coronavirus is an opportunity to 'prove the value of trustworthy news'

New York Times Company president and CEO Mark Thompson discusses the paper's digital subscription gains and ad revenue losses. The pandemic is "a moment for news organizations and newspapers to find audiences and prove the value of trustworthy news," Thompson says.

Posted: May 11, 2020 12:11 PM
Updated: May 11, 2020 12:11 PM

At a time when news organizations are reporting on and sharing vital information about the coronavirus pandemic with communities across the country, many are also struggling with a difficult business environment.

But New York Times CEO Mark Thompson said the crisis also presents an opportunity for news organizations to find new audiences and highlight the essential role of journalism.

"Moments like this, this extraordinary and terrible experience which this country and the world is going through, is a moment for news organizations and newspapers to find audiences and prove the value of trustworthy news," Thompson told CNN's Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" on Sunday.

Advertising demand is closely linked to the performance of the larger economy. News organizations and tech giants alike experienced painful ad revenue drops during the first three months of 2020, as coronavirus forced many businesses to shutter and pull back on spending.

Those challenges reached The New York Times. The company reported a record 6 million subscriptions during the first three months of 2020, an increase of more 587,000 from the prior quarter, but its quarterly advertising revenue fell by 15.2%. Thompson said he now expects the company's ad revenue to drop by up to 50% in the June quarter.

"We're seeing a really big -- we think, transient -- hit to advertising," Thompson said. "The explanation is very simple: (It's) the massive, almost medically induced coma which so much of the economy has gone into has a direct effect on advertising."

However, Thompson said the Times is better able to weather this revenue crunch than those of years past, as the company now relies on advertising for only a quarter of its total revenue. Far more important now are its subscriptions, where Thompson said the company is experiencing "really quite astonishing growth."

Other news organizations are not so well positioned. Coronavirus has sped up the collapse of local newsrooms — resulting in cut hours, layoffs and pay cuts. Thompson said the Times may be forced to eliminate a "small number" of jobs in coming months, though it will be "a very small percentage of the total."

He acknowledged that many news organizations are facing hard times, but implored them to look toward the future.

"If papers have got enough ... cash on hand to keep going through the crisis, I think they can build audiences and build loyalty and build recognition," Thompson said.

The crisis could be a chance for newsrooms to innovate, he said, adding that the Times continues to hire in journalism and digital product roles such as engineering and data science.

"I recognize that's very hard for other media players," he said. "But I have to say, if it's humanly possible, this is the moment when the world needs great journalism. It needs newsrooms working 24/7. It need journalism now."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 171398

Reported Deaths: 2446
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34320566
Washington23060229
Marion19838299
Clackamas14975202
Lane11295144
Jackson9709126
Umatilla792683
Deschutes679372
Linn403962
Yamhill403974
Malheur342158
Polk336351
Klamath329257
Douglas300865
Josephine298162
Benton267318
Jefferson204832
Coos194731
Columbia150525
Union140423
Lincoln128220
Wasco126428
Hood River110729
Morrow107115
Clatsop8768
Crook84619
Baker81213
Curry5829
Tillamook5692
Lake4127
Grant3464
Harney3036
Wallowa1565
Sherman560
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3706629

Reported Deaths: 60547
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122662723505
Riverside2968014504
San Bernardino2939254493
San Diego2737083623
Orange2684144849
Santa Clara1164362002
Kern1074341306
Sacramento1005871644
Fresno1002771633
Alameda848171447
Ventura80112990
San Joaquin711781334
Contra Costa66567777
Stanislaus600831020
Tulare49300824
Monterey43209348
San Mateo40920556
San Francisco35841506
Santa Barbara33736444
Solano31702238
Merced31105449
Sonoma29573311
Imperial27851717
Kings22723245
Placer21600281
San Luis Obispo20827256
Madera16174239
Santa Cruz15432203
Marin13815224
Yolo13510199
Shasta11570214
Butte11488193
El Dorado9662108
Napa961880
Sutter9245106
Yuba608343
San Benito594262
Lassen566624
Tehama539356
Nevada441875
Tuolumne405864
Mendocino397747
Amador360746
Humboldt356036
Lake338043
Glenn234925
Colusa218816
Calaveras204551
Siskiyou190920
Inyo141638
Mono12724
Del Norte12637
Plumas6886
Modoc4874
Mariposa4177
Trinity3985
Sierra1080
Alpine880
Unassigned500
Medford
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 39°
Brookings
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 57°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 39°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 39°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 31°
Mostly sunny and warmer Wednesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events