How the NYT is building a modern tech stack to drive every part of its media biz
If every company has become a technology company, then The New York Times is a shining example. Although it started as a print newspaper 171 years ago, in 1851.
Today the same company is very much a technology-driven media company.
While the transition has been underway to some degree for decades.
The NYT brought on Jason Sobel as chief technology officer in the summer of 2021 to accelerate the transformation to a modern technology organization.
Sobel brings 15 years of pure engineering expertise to his work, including long stints at Airbnb and Facebook where he helped lead infrastructure.
The Times brought in an engineer with that kind of expertise precisely because they needed someone to create the same kind of technology that the biggest tech companies were creating.
In fact, Sobel said he found the technical side of things not that different from his previous experience, except that everything he does is in the service of the newsroom.
“Well, it’s funny – it’s not really that different.” I mean, the newsroom is different in some ways.
Obviously, there is a strong editorial voice that will always be important to the kinds of content we write and how we deliver it,” Sobel told TechCrunch.
But when it comes to building a technology organization, Sobel said what the paper is building is actually quite familiar.
“We have a cross-functional team of designers, engineers and product managers who work together to deliver websites and applications and back-end technologies.
So I was surprised how similar it was,” he said.
I don’t know, but we’re kind of looking forward to our TC Early Stage event in Boston on April 20th, and Darrell just announced the first group of speakers for that event. It will be good!
Our Black History Month today is this hour-long YouTube documentary.
KQED’s mobile film unit follows author and activist James Baldwin in the spring of 1963 as he drives around San Francisco to meet with members of the local African-American community.
As a Bay Area resident, Haje found it interesting on several different levels: The local history is fun, and seeing SF in the 1960s is a special treat.
Kyle reports that the founder became frustrated using standard document applications such as Acrobat and Microsoft Office to print and mark up documents.
He wondered why there wasn’t a way to read and write on a computer that was fluid like paper, which led him to experiment with PDF processing software.
By 2020, these experiments had grown into a full-fledged custom PDF editor.
Using artificial intelligence, the editor – called Macro – pulls out key concepts, sections and equations to make the documents interactive and hypertext.
Macro has raised $9.3 million to continue its journey.