All is not well at the New York Times these days. An open letter from the Times’ union to publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., now has over 400 signatures, while “all the news that’s fit to print” nearly got 50 percent cheaper for over 8 million subscribers.
On Wednesday, a New York Times employee erroneously sent an e-mail to more than 8 million people on a marketing list, according to Reuters. The paper had intended to offer a 50 percent discount for 16 weeks of delivery to 300 subscribers who were canceling the Times.
According to the New York Post, the Times instead sent out 8.6 million e-mails with the discount offer and gave an 877 to call if recipients were interested, but callers could not access the number due to high volume.
The Post said the Times e-mailed reporters, “The e-mail is SPAM and was not sent from The New York Times. We are alerting subscribers immediately.” Meanwhile, the paper posted on Twitter, “If you received an e-mail today about canceling your NYT subscription, ignore it. It’s not from us.”
The Post says the Times changed their story about 90 minutes later, tweeting, “The e-mail was sent by the NYT. Should’ve gone to approx 300 & went to over 8 mil.” They initially gave out discounts to everyone they had contacted, but later stopped.
The open letter to Sulzberger expresses “profound dismay" with recent decisions made by the New York Times, such as freezing of pension plans, and ending independent health insurance. Also, despite pay cuts, layoffs, and buyouts at the paper, Reuters reported that CEO Janet Robinson, leaving December 31, will receive a retirement and severance package of over $15 million.
The Post also captured an image of Sulzberger with a black eye. Coincidence or not?
Guardian.co.uk reported that by Wednesday afternoon a parody Twitter account called @NYTSpam had picked up 152 followers. It described itself: "Parody account. Not affiliated with @NYTimes or actual spammers - just sick of bad digital strategy."
Mediabistro.com posted the original New York Times e-mail and the correction.