Today, the New York Times is hosting TimesOPEN, their first developer conference. We’re now listening to tech book publisher Tim O’Reilly, but just a few minutes ago Janet Robinson, President and CEO of the New York Times Company, concluded her remarks. As a nonjournalist, I never developed the skill to take shorthand, but I did my best to transcribe her remarks:
We’re encouraging you today to be part of our past, part of our present, and definitely part of our future…Today we are asking you to be part of our future and to shine a spotlight on what our future looks like. But we encourage you to look at our past; go out into the hallway, which is our Pulitzer hallway, and take a look at our history and what we have done.
…As our digital future expands, we have an intense desire to make this experience very personalized…readers have made it clear that they want to comment on the news, blog the news, and share the news. If we can get more people to interact with what our content is, we have a strong headstart.
…TimesOPEN underscores our commitment to engage the developer community with what we come up with day in and day out, and we look forward to what we come up with.
We hope this is only the first TimesOPEN.
TimesOPEN may — or may not — be the first software conference put on by a newspaper. (I’d love to hear Steve Yelvington’s take on that). What’s remarkable to me about Ms. Robinson’s remarks is the attempt to link the Times’ past — and its journalistic cred in the form of Pulitzer prizes — with what developers do. Today? What constitutes excellence in journalism and what constitutes excellence in software? Very, very far apart.
The future is about how those two concepts of excellence interact — or don’t.
For those who are interested, I’ll be tweeting more observations of TimesOPEN on Twitter, where I’m @lisawilliams.