'NYT' Metro Section Redesigned For Global Audience

The New York Times is cutting down on its local coverage of New York. The publication’s Metro section is in the middle of an overhaul and will be redesigned to tailor to a more global audience.

In this week’s installment of her Sunday column, Times public editor Liz Spayd said there will be fewer stories about “individual murders, assaults or routine crimes” in the Metro vertical.

Instead, the “incremental news of the past will be replaced by stories with larger, more consequential themes; they'll include investigations of individuals and institutions that wield outsize power; and they'll include deeply reported narratives about the subjects that animate New York.”

For example, broader subjects like policing, race and gender will take precedence over individual stories about the New York community. There will be more stories like a Metro series currently running called “Murder in the 4-0,” which tracks every murder that has occurred this year in the 40th Precinct in the South Bronx, an area riddled with housing projects, meth labs and gangs, according to Spayd.



“Why should a newsroom that just announced lofty international ambitions spend resources covering news of no interest to readers in Beijing or London?” she wrote.

In April, The New York Times Company announced it would invest more than $50 million over the next three years to expand its international digital audience and increase revenue outside the United States.

According to a report from Politico's Joe Pompeo, Metro editor Wendell Jamieson wrote on Facebook over the weekend that this decision was a “tough call” to make, and that he’s “bracing for some tough comments.”

Former New York Daily News vet Ellen Tumposky reportedly said: "It's OK to say honestly that in the digital era, we can't monetize coverage of New York neighborhoods and courts, but it's disingenuous to present it as journalistically noble."

In June, Jamieson told Politico that everyone in the Metro department is going to have a new job and all reporters will be assigned new beats.

But Spayd advises that it’s also important to let reporters have room to cover spontaneous stories that “erupt” on city streets and not only commit to “long narratives or multipart series.”

Metro columnist Jim Dwyer is quoted in Spayd’s column making a fair point: “When the L train is temporarily shut down, no one cares outside New York, but it means everything to New Yorkers.”

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