Ink stained

Today’s IHT is officially an artifact. Here are 8 memorable front pages

October 14, 2013
October 14, 2013

Today’s print edition of the International Herald Tribune is a journalistic artifact. That’s because the paper is being re-christened the International New York Times, starting tomorrow.

James Gordon Bennett Jr., a wealthy American, founded the IHT in Paris in 1887; his father started The New York Herald in 1835. Bennett Jr.’s paper, then the European edition of the New York Herald, was designed to cater to the international elite.  ‘‘At a time when America was just beginning to feel its power in the world, he was a publisher who looked across the oceans much more than most of the publishers of his time,’’ explained New York University journalism professor Mitchell Stephens in 2012. (Bennett Jr. was also in self-imposed exile in Paris after a disgraceful drunken episode involving urinating in either a grand piano or a fireplace.)

Bennett’s motto for what he wanted to cover: “Names, names, names. News, news, news.”

In 1924, the paper, by then a kind of hometown newspaper for American expatriates, became The New York Herald Tribune; in 1967, with ownership shared by the Washington Post and the New York Times, the paper was renamed the International Herald Tribune. The Times bought out out the Post’s share in 2003, calling the IHT “the global edition of The New York Times.”

It was a fiscally disastrous move—the New York Times spent $65 million for the Washington Post’s share, and then hemorrhaged money for years afterward. A plan former executive editor Howell Raines said he hatched to rebrand the paper as the international edition of The New York Times was shelved after Raines was ousted that year. This February, the name change was announced as “part of a larger plan” to focus on the company’s core brand, which has also included the sale of regional papers and online properties.

Today, the (now profitable) IHT—soon to be the INYT— has an interactive feature including the reflections of Serge Schmemann, the editorial page editor; a Suzy Menkes slideshow of fashion through the years; a selection of Art Buchwald columns, editorial cartoons dating back to 1896, and more.

There’s also a timeline of the paper’s front pages throughout the decades. Here are a few of the most memorable:

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Queen Victoria’s passing, 1901

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The stricken Titanic, 1912

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Archduke Francis Ferdinand is shot, 1914

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The Hindenburg explodes, 1937

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Germany surrenders, 1945

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Martin Luther King is killed, 1968

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September 11, 2001

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Barack Obama is elected, 2008

Looking ahead, the New York Times Company is hoping to capitalize on readers worldwide: About a third of the visitors to The New York Times’s site come from abroad, but only 10% of its paid subscribers are international.

Larry Ingrassia, assistant managing editor for new initiatives, said in an Oct. 13 article about the Times’s strategy that he wants to add more international digital subscribers—the “political, business and cultural elite of the world,” he called them.

In some ways, that sounds an awful lot like James Gordon Bennett Jr.’s mission in 1887.

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