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Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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circulation in general, and we were making relatively little progress in the suburbs. The New York Times always had been weak in the suburbs. In the days of the Herald Tribune, the Herald Tribune used to be ahead of us in the suburbs, and after the Herald Tribune died, we lost out to all the proliferation of suburban newspapers, so that the clear effort and very conscious effort was to make the Times more generally appealing, to cover everything from lifestyles to cooking and food and furniture, etc., etc., and largely using the same people who were on the reportorial staff of the Times to do it, to write articles, an awful lot of them. Of course, a few people were brought in, but not many.

Now, that was one way of going after new circulation, and advertising, and which we had to do. Another and quite different way, which might not have been as successful as this one, although I don't think that this one has proved overwhelmingly successful, but nevertheless, one that I would have far, far rather have been tried would have been to emphasize the great strengths of the Times by beefing up our news accounts and by emphasizing the fact that we really are a -- the unique newspaper in the country, and by going after, in a vigorous circulation campaign, going after the kind of people who are interested in having the kind of newspaper that the Times at its best really would, could be, in the sense of forming a unique contribution to American journalism.

Now, the immediate answer to what I've just said is, “Well, hell, we tried that, and we were still losing circulation.”

My own feeling is that we weren't really trying to do that nearly as hard as we should have tried. I think, in fact, to the contrary, that we were constantly over the last several years -

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