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The New York Times: That Sunday Edition Was a Fat Baby

Posted on the 23 September 2015 by Themarioblog @garciainteract
The New York Times: that Sunday edition was a fat babyThe New York Times: that Sunday edition was a fat baby
The T Style magazine inside the Sunday, September 13, Times was 204 pages and weighed 1.1 pounds!

Ken Doctor, that guru of media everything, said it best when he sent publisher Arthur Sulzberger a congratulatory message:

Mr. Sulzberger, congratulations on the delivery. This Sunday’s New York Times clambered into the world at a wrist-testing 5.4 pounds. That’s way light of the September 14, 1987 edition, which, Guinness World Records tells us, broke the scale at 12 pounds, but it’s still a weighty accomplishment.

By the numbers:

This mid-September Sunday edition of the printed Times was the largest and most robust in decades.

It contained 591 pages.

It weighed 5.4 pounds.

The 204-page T style magazine, itself was a plump 1.1 pounds.

This is all not just good news for the financial health of The New York Times, but for those who think that print is still a presence to be dealt with happily and effectively, and for those readers who still know a good thing when it arrives at their doorstep, starting on Thursday if you live in New York City.

To me, just that, the fact that we subscribers start getting the bulky Sunday printed product on Thursday and end up with the final few sections Sunday morning, is a testament of what print can do, and to abandoning the notions that print conveys breaking news.

I see a bright future for weekend editions of printed newspapers.  By the way, even Canada's French language daily, La Presse of Montreal, which is staking its future on its very successful tablet edition, La Presse +, has announced that, while it will scrap its Monday through Friday print edition starting January 1, 2016, it will continue printing and delivering its Saturday print edition, acknowledging in a statement that reading it “remains a potent, engaging ritual to which many people are profoundly attached.”

Let those bulky editions continue to make our weekends and Sundays special and something to look forward to. The New York Times is showing us the way.

This was the biggest NY Times Sunday edition ever

The New York Times: that Sunday edition was a fat babyThe New York Times: that Sunday edition was a fat baby

According to Keith Winstein, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, the biggest NY Times edition was September 13, 1987,
 As archived in Proquest, Sept. 13 was 1,158 pages, but not all subscribers received all pages.

Other than the inclusion of the “Fall Styles” section in the regional sections, this was not too much of an outlier — the next Sunday paper was archived at 912 pages, again including regional sections. The next year’s “Fall Styles” issue (Sept. 11, 1988) was archived at 1010 pages.

I don’t know if Sept. 13, 1987, was the largest ever edition of The New York Times — it might well be, but if so it was still pretty close to the page count readers were expecting on Sundays.

By contrast, twenty years later (in September 2007) the New York Times Sunday edition was down to 672 pages as archived. So still gigantic and still a ton of ads, but about 40% smaller than 1987.

More about NY Times weight analysis

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