The New York Times kills off a 125-year-old brand. Expats of a certain age raise a sad toast
Aging American expats who still remember those halcyon pre-Internet days surely felt a pang at the news that the New York Times is changing the name of the “International Herald Tribune” to the “International New York Times.”
“The announcement is part of the company’s larger plan to focus on its core brand and build its international presence, the Times spokeswoman said,” reports the New York Times.
One might wonder how something can simultaneously be called “International” and “New York” but the ugliness of the new title shouldn’t distract from the logic of the rebranding. The Times has recently been jettisoning anything and everything that doesn’t have the flagship brand name attached (the Boston Globe, About.com, et cetera). The bean counters are probably right, this time. We’re not talking Maker’s Mark announcing it is about to start watering down its bourbon. There will be no social media outrage that reverses this slap at history. When all media are available everywhere all the time, your brand is what sets you apart. Double down, New York Times, double down.
Back when our access to the infosphere was more limited, such branding consolidation was not essential. The International Herald Tribune lured us into its net by being one of the very few quality newspapers available in the English language that one could find in Bangkok or Katmandu after emerging from a week trekking or hanging out on some semi-tropical beach. Daniel Drezner is correct to note, in Foreign Policy, that the IHT was overpriced and a little slender on the content side, but even though it was “a small luxury to buy,” it was always worth it. Where else would you find your Boston Red Sox box scores?
And how else could you confirm that you’d really gone away? It seems strange to say, but I never felt more thoroughly ensconced in a foreign land than in those moments when I splurged on the Herald Tribune and gobbled up every word printed on its broad pages while sipping my coffee or beer at some cafe. The fact that I couldn’t get the New York Times confirmed my expat-ness. Seeing the paper on the newspaper rack at a foreign airport just after deboarding was a welcome sight: Yay! I’ve really gotten the hell out of Dodge.
Those days are gone. Today, all you need is Internet access and you’ve got unlimited connection to the entire world of English-language media, no matter where you are. You’ve got to work a lot harder to feel far away. With the world having shrunk to the size of a smartphone screen, there’s no point to being the International Herald Tribune.
As tragedies go, not the greatest in the world. Still, I know that the next time I’m lucky enough to cross a border, and I don’t see the Herald Tribune, I’ll feel sad. You really can’t go home again.
More Related Stories
- From global warming to fluoride: Why do people deny science?
- Is the Environmental Defense Fund ruining environmentalism?
- Top 5 investigative videos of the week: "Winning" Afghanistan
- Guantánamo prisoner on hunger strike cries for help on Twitter
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- 3 possible solutions to international tax avoidance
- Wikipedia's anti-Pagan crusade
- Could hackers destroy the U.S. power grid?
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- California judge cites "Star Trek," stuns copyright trolls
- Twitter beefs up security measures
- Man arrested for sending Craigslist sex party to neighbor's house
- Teenagers care more about online privacy than you think
- The Maker kids are alright
- Radio host tweets rape joke, blames journalists for reporting on it
- Cyber attacks could cause the next world war
- Snapchat is secretly storing your photos
- Apple's biggest sin: Popularity
- Facebook's hate speech problem
- Amazon set to launch fine-art gallery
- Twitter torches Dan Brown's "Inferno"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11