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Participants in New York Times Conference Call Must Pay to Hear Bad News

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Newspapers, including the mighty New York Times, are having great difficulty making money these days. Luckily, a new idea for generating revenue has cropped up: Charge people to hear how bad the news really is.

That's the concept behind a June 10 conference call examining the future of the Times put together by Argyle Executive Forum, an organization that stages events with business people or entrepreneurs in mind. Participants will get the chance to hear a panel of experts debate the broadsheet's prospects, but only if they pony up either $100 and $250 for the privilege.

Here's the release, sent to individuals on the Argyle mailing list:

Carlyle Group advisor and former Time Inc. Editor-in-Chief Norman Pearlstine said during a recent Argyle Executive Forum media conference that newspaper profits have declined sharply with the growth of online news content. Pearlstine, recently named Chief Content Officer at Bloomberg, told attendees that newspapers "remain viable businesses" and that "they remain capable of generating consistent cash flow, but they are not going to have the kinds of margins again that they've had in the past." Indeed, the steady drop of sales and profits at major newspapers comes at a time when readers are demanding a variety of content sources and forms of distribution. They want customized content, and much more.

It's against this backdrop that Argyle Executive Forum presents a conference call examining the future of America's newspaper of record: The New York Times. Join us for an enlightened and informed discussion with perspectives by Rafat Ali, Editor & Publisher of paidContent.org; Bruce Eatroff, Founding Partner of Halyard Capital; Susan Lavington, Vice President of Consumer Marketing, USA Today; and Michael Zimbalist, Vice President, Research & Development Operations, The New York Times Company on the challenges and opportunities facing the newspaper that offers "All The News That's Fit to Print."

To register for this call, please visit Argyle Executive Forum's website: www.execforum.net. Please note that space is limited. The registration fee is $100 until 5pm EDT on June 4th. After 5pm EDT on June 4th, the registration fee will be $250.

At last, a new print-journalism profit center. Can an industry-wide turnaround be far behind? -- Michael Roberts

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