Presse: L’IHT ne soufflera pas sa 127e bougie ! (End of an era for the Trib: iconic symbol of the expatriate American presence in Paris finally bows to globalization)

Jean Seberg in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 film “Breathless.”The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a break at the award ceremony for his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.LOREM IPSUM

Le quotidien mondial par excellence : créé par des Américains en 1887, édité à Paris, imprimé dans 28 villes du monde, lu dans 180 pays, le titre est beaucoup plus que l’édition internationale du New York Times, son unique propriétaire. Longtemps détenu à parts égales par The New York Times et The Washington Post, l’International Herald Tribune a beaucoup évolué depuis 2004. La couleur est apparue en une ; l’économie, la culture, les loisirs ont une place plus importante. Du coup, les deux tiers de son lectorat sont constitués de non-Américains. Courrier international
To me, the Herald Tribune represents a time when Paris truly was the expatriate capital of America. Charles Trueheart
You are wiping out a great tradition which you don’t really understand. Ronald Koven
The only thing that’s changing on October 15th are the words at the top of the flag, This is not some sort of hostile takeover . . . We love the print paper. We are going to put out a print paper for as long as we can, but the growth in readership is elsewhere. Richard Stevenson
I don’t think it will die in the next five years, but I think it will die . . . The richness of the experience you get on a tablet . . . 10 years from now the print circulation of newspapers . . . the technological advances we’ve had in the past 10 years . . . it’s almost unimaginable. Larry Ingrassia
Techno utopians do not seem alarmed by the fact that two-thirds of digital advertising revenue goes to tech giants – Google et al – not to the composers, writers, artists, translators and newspapers whose production they appropriate without compensation. Studies show concentration and retention plummet when one reads from screens; no wonder we all seem to suffer from ADD. The internet revolution raises enormous sociocultural issues, but they’re not being addressed, in part because we are dazzled by technology. (…) Much of the INYT operation has already shifted from Paris to Hong Kong and London, to escape the high social charges and obstreperous printers’ unions that make it so costly to publish in France. I asked if the paper would continue to accord the importance to French news that it has in the past. “No,” Ingrassia answered. “It’s a small country in the world.” Coverage has increasingly focused on the countries that “count” – chiefly the US, Russia, China, Germany. Internet readers can toggle between domestic US and global news. “ (…) Like Starbucks, the INYT will offer a choice of sizes. For less than a third of the price of a full subscription, the “need to know” formula will provide what one needs to know before going to a dinner party – the 20 or 30 most important stories of the day. The Irish Times

L’IHT ne soufflera pas sa 127e bougie !

Enième victime de la mondialisation et de l’Internet, le légendaire quotidien-phare de plusieurs générations d’expatriés américains de Paris perd son illustre patronyme …

Ou plus précisément la partie de patronyme dont il n’avait depuis bien longtemps plus que le nom …

Et qu’il devait d’ailleurs en fait à un premier rebaptème lorsqu’il avait été repris en 1966 par un consortium du Washington Post et du New York Times (le New York Herald Tribune – du nom du premier journal new-yorkais dont il était l’édition parisienne – devenant l’International Herald Tribune) …

Avant, dix ans après le départ du Washington Post (lui-même racheté – autre signe des temps – l’été dernier par le patron d’Amazon) sa reprise totale par le quotidien dont il était devenu de fait l’édition internationale …

Sa nouvelle dénomination d’International New York Times ne faisant alors que confirmer – à l’instar du transfert (merci l’Etat et les syndicats français !) d’une bonne partie de la production à Hong Kong – la simple et dure réalité des actuels rapports de force mondiaux …

Comme de l’évident déclin de la place de Paris dans le coeur des nouveaux expatriés américains ?

Jean Seberg ne vendra plus le Herald Tribune sur les Champs-Elysées

Pierre Haski

Rue89

14/10/2013

C’est l’une des images mythiques de l’histoire du cinéma… et de la presse : Jean Seberg vendant le Herald Tribune avec Jean-Paul Belmondo, cigarette au bec, dans « A bout de souffle » de Jean-Luc Godard.

C’était en 1960, une époque où vendre un quotidien papier frisait l’érotisme. Cette époque est révolue, à la fois pour le papier qui a perdu la partie face aux écrans, et pour le Herald Tribune, le quotidien américain basé à Paris – Neuilly pour être plus précis – qui deviendra mardi l’International New York Times.

Un numéro collector

Certes, à l’époque d’« A bout de souffle », il s’agissait du New York Herald Tribune, rebaptisé par la suite International Herald Tribune. Mais c’est bien le même journal qui a publié ce lundi un numéro collector, le dernier d’une longue histoire avant de changer de peau, d’identité, de plonger dans l’ère de la globalisation.

« Ne pleurez pas, ce n’est pas le premier changement de nom », implore Serge Schmemann, responsable des pages éditoriales du « Trib », comme on l’appelle familièrement, dans le supplément de 24 pages consacré à l’histoire du journal publié lundi.

Le quotidien a publié son premier numéro le 4 octobre 1887 (par comparaison, le plus ancien quotidien français est Le Figaro, né en 1866) sous le nom de Paris Herald, édition parisienne du New York Herald destinée aux Américains voyageant ou vivant en Europe. Il s’est appelé tour à tour New York Herald Tribune, puis International Herald Tribune lorsque le New York Times et le Washington Post s’en partageaient la propriété – et les pages.

Le premier quotidien global

Depuis une décennie, le New York Times est seul maître à bord, mais c’est seulement récemment qu’il a pris la décision de le transformer en International New York Times, tout en se lançant dans un pari audacieux : devenir le premier, et peut-être le seul, quotidien papier et numérique véritablement global du monde, basé à Paris, Londres et Hong Kong.

L’édition chinoise en ligne du New York Times (capture)

Parallèlement à la transformation de son édition internationale, le New York Times tente de se développer dans d’autres langues : le chinois depuis l’an dernier, malgré la censure du régime de Pékin qui est venue contrarier ses ambitions, ou le portugais à destination du Brésil annoncé, mais pas encore lancé.

Le New York Times, qui a failli être emporté par la crise de la presse et n’a été sauvé que par un prêt du milliardaire mexicain Carlos Slim, remboursé depuis par anticipation, s’est déjà transformé :

en devenant un quotidien réellement national, imprimé dans plusieurs villes, vendant 1,9 million d’exemplaires en semaine, 2,3 millions le dimanche ;

en produisant l’un des plus importants sites d’information au monde, avec plus de 40 millions de visiteurs uniques par mois, dont quelque 700 000 abonnés payants.

Quitte ou double

La mondialisation du New York Times est un pari quasi existentiel : le journal, toujours contrôlé par la famille Sulzberger, a vendu – à perte – certains de ses actifs, notamment le quotidien Boston Globe et des chaînes de télévision locales, pour financer son expansion tous azimuts.

Il a accumulé un « trésor de guerre » d’un milliard de dollars pour financer sa stratégie globale.

« C’est quitte ou double », commente un vétéran du journal, en priant pour que ça marche.

L’aventure du média global a été tentée précédemment par la télévision, que ce soit par CNN ou par la chaîne Sky de Rupert Murdoch, ou plus récemment par Arianna Huffington et le groupe AOL avec le Huffington Post et ses déclinaisons nationales.

Avec le New York Times, c’est un journalisme de qualité « à l’ancienne » qui tente de créer le média du XXIe siècle, avec 3 500 employés dont près d’un millier de journalistes, l’une des meilleures rédactions au monde.

L’International Herald Tribune est donc mort, longue vie à l’International New York Times !

Voir aussi:

L' »International Herald Tribune » rebaptisé « International New York Times »

Marc Roche (Londres, correspondant)

Le Monde

14.10.2013

Depuis le 15 octobre, l’International Herald Tribune a été rebaptisé « International New York Times » en vue de permettre au quotidien d’outre-Atlantique de se développer en dehors des Etats-Unis.

Au hasard d’une nostalgie, cette image en noir et blanc du film A bout de souffle (1960), de Jean-Luc Godard sur laquelle on distingue la comédienne Jean Seberg, la frange très courte, dont le tee-shirt blanc proclame, en lettres noires, « New York Herald Tribune ». Tout ce qu’il y avait à retenir du quotidien anglophone, lancé à Paris en 1887 et rebaptisé International Herald Tribune en 1967, était dit. Les expatriés américains, la Ville Lumière au centre du monde et un quotidien hors norme devenu propriété exclusive du New York Times en 2003.

Sur son site Internet, l’IHT présente un article multimédia sur son histoire :  » Turning the page »

C’était hier, c’était jadis. Depuis le 15 octobre, l’IHT a été rebaptisé International New York Times en vue de permettre au quotidien d’outre-Atlantique de se développer en dehors des Etats-Unis.

« Nous voulons exploiter cette opportunité pour attirer les lecteurs étrangers, les abonnements numériques et les publicitaires. (…) C’est le moment idoine pour créer une marque médiatique planétaire unique » : le directeur général du New York Times, Mark Thompson, justifie cette décision par la volonté d’utiliser le vénérable titre comme tête de pont du développement du New York Times à l’international, en particulier son édition numérique.

Comme en témoigne une diffusion quotidienne moyenne de 224 771 exemplaires en 2012, l’International Tribune est bien implanté en Europe, surtout en France, en Allemagne et en Italie, ainsi qu’en Asie. Reste que l’enseigne, à peine rentable, est dépourvue de site Internet. Et le site payant du New York Times, un « paywall » au-delà d’un nombre d’articles, ne compte actuellement que 10 % de ses abonnés numériques hors des Etats-Unis.

CONCURRENCE

Dans la nouvelle configuration, Paris, la base historique de l’IHT, devrait perdre des effectifs rédactionnels au profit de Londres et de Hongkong, mais supervisera néanmoins désormais les vingt-cinq bureaux du New York Times en Europe. Fort de son énorme puissance de feu rédactionnelle, le New York Times est confronté aujourd’hui à une concurrence à couteaux tirés dans la construction de marques de presse anglo-saxonnes « globales ».

A gauche, le Guardian, qui a créé une édition Web gratuite spécifique aux Etats-Unis et à l’Australie, veut s’imposer comme leader du journalisme d’investigation. A droite, le Wall Street Journal, vaisseau amiral du groupe Murdoch, bénéficie de synergies au sein du conglomérat News Corp présent sur quatre continents. Sur le créneau très porteur du journalisme économique, le Financial Times est parti à la conquête des lecteurs du monde des affaires de par le globe. Le quotidien britannique aux pages saumon a annoncé, le 10 octobre, qu’il entendait se concentrer sur le Net en ne publiant qu’une édition papier unique à partir du premier semestre 2014.

Dans cet affrontement, il faut aussi compter avec la compétition, tout aussi sévère, des sites gratuits de la BBC et de CNN.

Voir également:

End of an era as venerable ‘Herald Tribune’ to be reborn as ‘International New York Times’

The Irish Times

Lara Marlowe

October 11, 2013

In the 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, the first thing Ernest Hemingway’s fictional alter ego, Jake Barnes, does on returning from Spain to France is to buy the New York Herald from a kiosk in Bayonne, sit down at a cafe and read it.

Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 New Wave film classic Breathless consecrated the newspaper – by that time called the New York Herald Tribune – as a symbol of expatriate American life in Paris, portraying Jean Seberg as a student hawking the paper on the Champs-Élysées.

The International Herald Tribune, its name since 1967, will appear for the last time on Monday, to be reborn the following day as the International New York Times.

Richard Stevenson, the Europe editor of the INYT, and Larry Ingrassia, the assistant managing editor for new initiatives, on a visit from New York, met with the Anglo-American Press Association at the INYT’s offices in the Paris suburb of Courbevoie.

The AAPA seemed to have been cast as representatives of print journalism. These days, anyone who mourns the death foretold of letters delivered by post, bound books and printed newspapers is assumed to be a modern-day Luddite, after the 19th-century weavers and farmers who smashed mechanised looms and threshing machines in Britain.

There was a certain tension with Stevenson and Ingrassia, the young Turks from New York and the embodiment of the digital world. “You are wiping out a great tradition which you don’t really understand,” said Ronald Koven, one of several AAPA members who had worked for “the Trib”.

“The only thing that’s changing on [Tuesday] October 15th are the words at the top of the flag,” Stevenson protested. “This is not some sort of hostile takeover . . . We love the print paper. We are going to put out a print paper for as long as we can, but the growth in readership is elsewhere.”

The future is digital, Stevenson and Ingrassia repeated like a mantra. The NYT still earns more from print than from the internet, but as print circulation declines, digital subscriptions rise. Print advertising subsides; digital advertising grows.

About 10 per cent of the NYT’s more than 700,000 digital subscribers are outside the US. “I’d be thrilled if we could double that to 20 per cent in a couple of years,” Ingrassia said.

Survival

Asked how long he thought print newspapers would survive, Ingrassia replied: “I don’t think it will die in the next five years, but I think it will die . . . The richness of the experience you get on a tablet . . . 10 years from now the print circulation of newspapers . . . the technological advances we’ve had in the past 10 years . . . it’s almost unimaginable.”

This evolution poses the basic question: at what point does a newspaper cease to be a newspaper? Stevenson and Ingrassia emphasised the importance of video, live-blogging and “multimedia packages” to the NYT.

“Those of us who think primarily about digital don’t think necessarily of newspapers as being competition,” Stevenson said. So who was their competition? The fact that the former head of the BBC is now chief executive of the NYT “is telling in terms of the culture and priorities of the paper”, he added.

Digital advertising

Techno utopians do not seem alarmed by the fact that two-thirds of digital advertising revenue goes to tech giants – Google et al – not to the composers, writers, artists, translators and newspapers whose production they appropriate without compensation. Studies show concentration and retention plummet when one reads from screens; no wonder we all seem to suffer from ADD. The internet revolution raises enormous sociocultural issues, but they’re not being addressed, in part because we are dazzled by technology.

“Our biggest challenge now is not transitioning from print to the website,” Stevenson said. “It’s keeping up with the technology and the way people consume news . . . The New York Times newsroom has become an R&D lab. We have some of the smartest, most creative people in the world . . . What they bring us is wizardry.”

Much of the INYT operation has already shifted from Paris to Hong Kong and London, to escape the high social charges and obstreperous printers’ unions that make it so costly to publish in France. I asked if the paper would continue to accord the importance to French news that it has in the past. “No,” Ingrassia answered. “It’s a small country in the world.”

Coverage has increasingly focused on the countries that “count” – chiefly the US, Russia, China, Germany. Internet readers can toggle between domestic US and global news. “A lot of readers from outside the US consciously, affirmatively, choose the US edition on the website,” Stevenson says.

There’s no place for Pat Rabbitte’s proverbial Irish caveman among the NYT’s subscribers, defined as “English-speaking, highly educated, mobile, affluent,” by Stevenson. “If you look at the political, cultural, business elite of the world . . . that’s our audience,” says Ingrassia. “There are five million, 10 million, of those people. If we can get 100,000 of them to subscribe digitally at 350 bucks a year, that’s far greater potential growth than with print.”

Like Starbucks, the INYT will offer a choice of sizes. For less than a third of the price of a full subscription, the “need to know” formula will provide what one needs to know before going to a dinner party – the 20 or 30 most important stories of the day.

“The hope is we can figure out new revenue streams that we haven’t actually imagined today,” Ingrassia concluded.

Voir encore:

International Herald Tribune: the paper of the American abroad

Newspaper to become International New York Times as it attempts to project itself as more recognisable global brand

Simon Tisdall

The Guardian

14 October 2013

Immortalised by Jean Seberg in Godard’s 1960 film À bout de souffle, the paper of record for Americans abroad has become the International New York Times. Photograph: The Ronald Grant Archive

Ernest Hemingway, author, exile, and Rimbaud-esque enfant terrible, fully understood the life-enhancing, horizon-broadening significance that Paris and its transplanted New York-owned newspaper, the English-language Paris Herald, held for nouveau-riche middle-class Americans.

In his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, the first thing the autobiographical hero, Jake Barnes, does on his return to France from Spain is buy the Herald, as the present-day International Herald Tribune was then known, and read it in a cafe with a glass of wine.

Whether Hemingway intended it or not, Barnes struck a contagiously cosmopolitan pose that proved irresistibly attractive to the many would-be emulators who subsequently made the journey across the Atlantic.

For generations of Americans travelling to Europe before, during and after the two world wars, swapping the competitive, tight-laced rigours of the materialist, capitalist, God-fearing USA for the sophisticated languor, louche-ness and chic of the French capital, the Herald reported, reflected and symbolised the quintessential experience of embracing foreignness, and specifically Frenchness.

It provided a link with home while reminding the expatriate of his or her daring plunge into the unknown, slightly dangerous culture of the Old World.

Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper Ernest Hemingway with Gary Cooper in Paris. Photograph: Keystone via Getty Images

And it became the newspaper of glittering record for what Gertrude Stein, perhaps the original « American in Paris », dubbed « la generation perdue », the lost generation, which hailed from America’s Gilded Age and came into its own during the first world war. Its denizens included F Scott Fitzgerald, Isadora Duncan, TS Eliot, Waldo Peirce and Alan Seeger as well as Hemingway himself.

Years later, in 1953, Hemingway was still propping up the bar at the Paris Ritz, where he was discovered drinking bloody marys by the Herald’s humorist, Art Buchwald.

Hemingway denied a report that he had consumed 15 martinis in 45 minutes at the Dome cafe in Montparnasse. The great man told Buchwald: « First of all, I’d never do such a silly thing, and secondly, I’d like to see anybody drink a dry martini at the Dome. »

The exchange was reproduced in a special supplement published on Monday by the International Herald Tribune (IHT) to mark its last day of publication under that name. From Tuesday it will be marketed as the International New York Times, reflecting its present ownership and, presumably, the New York title’s desire to project itself as a more recognisable global brand.

Buchwald’s anecdotes aside, the supplement unearths old opinion and editorial pieces, historic news reports and front pages, fashion shocks, scientific breakthroughs and fusty photographs of mostly forgotten icons and tyrants, and reprints several of the paper’s consistently unfunny cartoons. All were published after the Herald opened for business in Paris in 1887 under the auspices of James Gordon Bennett, owner of the New York Herald.

Like newspapers in the digital age, the transplanted paper was made possible by revolutionary technological advances, including more efficient printing methods and improved communications stemming from the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cables in 1858.

At the same time, according to Charles Robertson, author of a history of the paper, new audiences were being created by the rapid development of steamship travel and the advent of a new class of wealthy Americans eager to discover the Europe of their forebears.

In an editorial for the last edition, the IHT’s Serge Schmemann argues bravely that the rebranded paper will remain vital and relevant because « we still need trusted reporters and editors to sort out the vast waves of information sweeping this chaotic world of ours. We need those first rough drafts, the smart commentary, the impartial news, to function in these times. »

Not everything was smart, of course. To its credit, the IHT reproduces a May 1932 editorial that bemoans the lack of a strong fascist movement in America. It declares: « The hour has struck for a fascist party to be born in the United States. »

Seven years later, reporting the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, the paper’s tune changes: « The madman has unsheathed his sword, with Poland as his first victim. »

Eye-catching photographs include one of Andy Warhol sitting in Venice in 1977 reading the « Trib » – an unwitting tribute to Breathless, the 1960 film by Jean-Luc Godard that features an American student who takes a job selling the paper on the streets of Paris. Others show Adolf Eichmann at his sentencing in Israel in 1962 and Fidel Castro in full revolutionary fig in 1957. In 1931, but it could be 2013, Walter Lippmann discusses Gandhi’s non-violence doctrine and deplores the way Americans, « who want peace but no responsibility », have abandoned a global peacemaking role.

Other reports and photos from the IHT archives record inspirational individuals of different stripes, including Simone de Beauvoir, Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, the Beatles, and Martin Luther King, in Oslo in 1964 for his Nobel peace prize. One brief item from 1911 sums up the sort of journalistic dedication the rebranded paper will hope to maintain. It concerns a railway accident in which one of its reporters was injured. The reporter, who gets no byline, is quoted as saying: « Please ring up my paper and tell them there is a big story here. I’m sorry I cannot work on it myself. » Then he died.

Voir de même:

The Life of a Newspaper

Serge Schmemann

The New York Times

October 13, 2013

This is the last time you will be reading The International Herald Tribune; as of tomorrow, it is The International New York Times. But weep not:

This is not the first name change for what was popularly known in its early years as the ‘‘Paris Herald,’’ and if the genealogy of a newspaper is reflected in its name (the original parent, The New York Herald, at one point the most profitable and popular paper in all the United States, ended its days as The New York World Journal Tribune), the DNA of a great paper is defined by evolution of the complex and intimate interplay of reader and editor, owner and technology.

And that is best discovered in the figurative basement of the paper, in those stacks of brown, brittle copies of old newspapers that trace the ever-changing interests, dramas, world views and pleasures — all that we call ‘‘news.’’

Mining these vintage broadsheets is a pleasure that may be lost to future generations if the ‘‘paper’’ goes out of newspapering. The real gems buried in these stacks are not necessarily the ‘‘first rough drafts of history’’ that reporters like to claim as their product — these are easier to access in footnotes and online — but rather the obscure little story on an inside page (‘‘Is London Hairdresser Really a German Spy?’’) alongside an ad for a forgotten product at a forgotten price (‘‘Take Carter’s Little Liver Pills … The stomach, liver and bowels will be cleansed of poison …’’) or the society news from a time when everybody knew who everybody was (‘‘Mr. Irving Marks, an American resident of Paris, has moved from the George V to the Plaza Athénée, where he plans to remain indefinitely’’).

Many a brief item leaves us craving for more: An 1897 dispatch from Kronstadt, the port of St. Petersburg, describes the arrival of President Félix Faure of France: ‘‘Ladies faint and utter strangers embrace affectionately.’’ Why?

The paper of Feb. 20, 1898, described how it took 12 Parisian policemen aided by two victims to get two muggers to the station house. Even then, one of the suspects would have escaped ‘‘had it not been for the appearance of a gigantic policeman, who goes by the name of Napoleon and who is kept on the premises specially to overpower disorderly prisoners.’’

This was the daily cafe fare of the gilded generation of ‘‘An American in Paris,’’ of the Lost Generation (‘‘America is my country and Paris is my hometown,’’ Gertrude Stein declared), of doughboys and tourists. The Paris Herald flourished at a time when the goings-on at England’s Downton Abbeys were still news even as a new social era was fast rising: A cartoon I found from 1896 shows two women resting in front of their modern bicycles. Bell: ‘‘Why did old novels all end with ‘And they lived happily for ever after?’’’ Nell: ‘‘Because the New Woman was not known then.’’

The paper evolved with the times. The European edition founded in 1887 by the wild and wealthy owner of The New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett Jr., for his fellow American expatriates in Paris spread first to London (‘‘In order to ensure an extremely rapid delivery of the New York Herald in London, the airplanes of the Air Union Company carry it over every morning’’ — 1932), then across Europe, and finally to Asia.

Its names and owners changed from time to time — it became the European Edition of The New York Herald Tribune in 1924; then, in 1967, The International Herald Tribune, under the joint ownership of The Herald Tribune, The New York Times and The Washington Post. This troika was reduced in 1991 to The Washington Post and The New York Times and then in 2003 to only The Times. And thus, as of tomorrow, it will be The International New York Times.

Whatever the name, the connection between the paper and its audience has long been clear. Already in 1911, an art magazine of the time called Lotus noted, ‘‘As all American travelers in Europe know, or should know, the ‘N.Y. Herald’ publishes in Paris a European edition that usually is spoken of as ‘The Paris Herald.’’’ (The Herald had reported a claim by the Prado Museum in Madrid that its ‘‘Mona Lisa’’ was the real one, not the Louvre’s.) And by its 100th anniversary — a birthday marked by a memorable feast at the Trocadéro, with the Eiffel Tower across the Seine recruited as a spectacular birthday candle — the Trib, aka the IHT, had become ‘‘the first global newspaper,’’ the trusted daily fare of Americans and other English-speaking travelers, businesspeople, diplomats, expatriates and journalists across Europe and Asia.

I became a regular user, and contributor, when I went abroad as a foreign correspondent 35 years ago. In my years as a New York Times correspondent in the Soviet Union, we would get the Trib in stacks, the freshest never less than four days old. But we would still devour them all — not so much for the news, which by then we’d learned, but — as with those musty stacks of Gilded Age and Jazz Age Paris Heralds — for a taste of the life in the world out there.

Of course, a lot of people will lament the latest name change, just as they do any change. Among the letters to the editor I read in the papers of yore, one railed against ‘‘the loud-speaker radio’’ and the ‘‘croaking and screeching of unseen tenors and sopranos’’ filling Parisian apartment houses; another ranted against central heating — ‘‘What can beat a good coal fire for comfort and health?’’ And newspapers, I have learned, are notoriously habit-forming — loyal readers resist any alteration of their daily fix.

But even back in the day, lurking among those who lamented change were always a few who welcomed it. The paper itself devoted an entire page in 1896 to advising ladies how to ride a bicycle and what to wear (and eat — this was France) when cycling. In 1932, one James J. Montague submitted a poem (something we don’t see much any more, alas) addressed to an infant growing up in an era of rapid technological advances: ‘‘The progress of science foretells/ That when you grow up all your work will be done/ By photo-electrical cells.’’

The fact is that The Herald/IHT/INYT (will that be the next nickname?) was itself from its inception a child of revolutionary technological advances. According to the history of the paper by Charles L. Robertson, it was industrialization and the rapid development of steamship travel after 1850 that created a new class of wealthy, Atlantic-hopping Americans. And it was the trans-Atlantic telegraph cables, first laid in 1858, that made it possible to keep them in close touch with their country, their businesses and the world. Bennett, in fact, was instrumental in lowering the cost of trans-Atlantic communications — and thus making a European edition of his paper economically feasible — by partnering with another magnate to break the monopoly of Western Union in laying trans-Atlantic cables.

The world has not ceased shrinking since. The first trans-Atlantic transmission by cable moved 98 words in 16 hours. Today, suppliers fight to shave milliseconds off the speed of transmission via fiber optic cables. But Mr. Montague’s prophecy of photo-electric everything, including eyes, has not come to pass, and it takes us as long to read those 98 words as it did in 1858. So long as that doesn’t change, we will still need trusted reporters and editors to sort out the vast waves of information sweeping this chaotic world of ours. We need those first rough drafts, the smart commentary, the impartial news, to function in these times. And we should hope that our grandchildren will delight in finding telling tidbits about our era when they find this newspaper in your attic.

Serge Schmemann is the editorial page editor of the International Herald Tribune and a member of the editorial board of The New York Times.

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