It’s still called the New York Times, but good luck finding any section of the print edition that’s devoted exclusively to news from New York.
The paper’s March 23 edition ran a “Note to Our Readers,” in which it said the New York section would not be appearing that day. It hasn’t returned since.
“There is no separate New York section,” the March 23 note said as the coronavirus had begun ravaging the city and was seemingly the only story in town. “New York coverage is included as part of the Tracking an Outbreak section on pages A4-A13.”
That was the last time the New York section was mentioned, and there has been no note to explain where it went.
The Metro desk, overseen by Associate Managing Editor Cliff Levy, has long been viewed as a stepchild to a paper that always seemed more interested in national and international news.
Publisher A.G. Sulzberger is said to be no fan of Metro or New York as a separate section, since local stories tend to pull less traffic on the Web.
In 2008, the Metro section lost its stand-alone status, but still had its own heading on several pages of news in the section that fronts the paper. There are estimated to be more than 50 editorial staffers on the desk, following voluntary buyouts two years ago to the department’s editorial staffers.
In Tuesday’s paper, one page of the five pages devoted to coronavirus carried a “New York region” label. But most days even that tip doesn’t appear.
“In the beginning, it made a lot of sense, it was obviously all COVID, all the time,” said one source. “But New York is not ground zero for coronavirus coverage anymore. And they still have not brought the pages back.”
“It feels strategic,” the source added. “Maybe they don’t intend to ever bring it back. Maybe they feel it will be better to have stories sprinkled throughout the paper.
A Times spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment.
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