Bad news, indeed. I loved and regularly used the International Herald Tribune site, especially for the readspeaker implementation that allowed me to download audio versions of their stories for playback on my iPhone or iPod.
I really liked the international viewpoint. I think without out a separate site, we’re losing an important voice in news.
From my point of view, this is a huge mistake by the Times. They say it’s about growing the NYTimes site, not about cost cutting:
Schiller hopes tying the sites together will increase the Times‘ traffic–and, significantly for an Internet news business, give it more content against which to sell ads. Schiller also says the move will let the paper better capitalize on the roughly 18% to 20% of traffic coming from foreigners by selling more ads for them.
My experience tells me that amalgamating two sites which have dissimilar voices will create in the long term one single site that is roughly the same size as the predominant site that was merged. In essence, the traffic from the other site vaporizes.