The Price of this Weekend’s Times Magazine Cover Story
$400,000. Gerald Marzorati, editor of the Times Magazine, slightly exaggerated the cost because 400G would have been the price if solely Times staff writers created the 13,000-word investigation of the New Orleans hospital where patients were brought to during Hurricane Katrina. Instead, reporter Sheri Fink began working on the project in 2007 as a fellow at the Kaiser Foundation and stayed until the investigation was finished and she began collaborating with Times editors. Fink got paid a little under 45G for her work; however, this was a rare occasion for cheap, hard journalism. Apparently, The New York Times’ Baghdad bureau costs $3 million a year, while The Washington Post’s drains $1 million; The Miami Herald’s audit of the 2000 presidential election results in Florida put the paper out $850,000.
The question then becomes how today’s news outlets justify the cost. Does a million page views make the high price ok? Impact? Buzz? Twitter sentiment? How many sites and blogs repost the article?