Three weeks before the scheduled death of the International Herald Tribune and its resurrection as the International New York Times, Richard Stevenson, the paper’s last editor, received some 20 members of the Anglo-American Press Association to explain the decision to rebrand the 126-year-old Paris-based institution. The meeting, which took place at the IHT offices in La Defense, was also attended by Larry Ingrassia, the New York Times’ assistant managing editor for new initiatives. Over snacks and wine, AAPA members, several of whom once worked for the IHT, asked pointed questions about the need to change a name that has had such a long, evocative history.

The two editors explained that the strategy of The New York Times, which has been the sole owner of the IHT since 2003, is to get more non-U.S. readers onto the NYT website, already one of the best read news sites in the world. ”It’s all about digital,” said Stevenson. In its push for more international readers, he said the paper wants to capitalize on the pull of the NYT brand, which surveys have found is stronger than the IHT.

On Oct. 15, when the new masthead appears at the top of the front page, the newspaper’s 224,000 print subscribers will see few other changes, the editors said. For instance, the comics – which have never appeared in the NYT – will remain a feature of the new INYT, as they were of the old IHT.


Celestine Bohlen

Pictures by Thomas Haley