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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: New York Times CEO Mark Thompson Discusses Media in the Trump Era on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” Today

WHEN: TODAY, THURSDAY, February 2, 2017

WHERE: CNBC'S"POWER LUNCH"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with New York Times CEO Mark Thompson today on CNBC's "Power Lunch." Following are links to video of the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000589944, http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000589941 and http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000589938.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

MELISSA LEE: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THE MEDIA AT AN ALL-TIME LOW WITH THE PRESIDENT CALLING MANY UNFAVORABLE REPORTS FAKE NEWS. ONE OF HIS BIGGEST TARGETS IS THE "NEW YORK TIMES" THE COMPANY HE HAS TWEETED ABOUT AT LEAST 14 TIMES SINCE ELECTION DAY. ON NOVEMBER 13th, TRUMP SAID WOW, THE NEW YORK TIMES IS LOSING THOUSANDS OF SUBSCRIBERS BECAUSE OF THEIR VERY POOR AND HIGHLY INACCURATE COVERAGE OF THE TRUMP PHENOMENA. SOMETHING THE TIMES HAS REFUTED. AND IN FACT TODAY'S EARNINGS SHOWS THE COMPANY ADDED 276,000 DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS IN THE FOURTH QUARTER, ITS BEST QUARTER SINCE 2011. THE STOCK WE SHOULD NOTE HAS BEEN SURGING SINCE ELECTION DAY. IT'S UP OVER 20%. JOINING US EXCLUSIVELY, TO TELL US WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE THE NEWS, RATHER THAN JUST REPORTING, IT MARK THOMPSON THE CEO OF THE NEW YORK TIMES. MARK, GREAT TO HAVE YOU WITH US.

THOMPSON: HI THERE.

LEE: HOW MUCH OF THE 276,000 NET NEW DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS YOU THINK IS BECAUSE OF TRUMP? DO YOU WAKE UP EVERY DAY SECRETLY AND FROM A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE THINK, THANK GOODNESS THERE'S A PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP?

THOMPSON: THE ANSWER IS, WE DON'T KNOW. WE WERE -- OUR MODEL WAS ACCELERATING, WE WERE GROWING THE NUMBER OF SUBSCRIBERS, WE WERE ADDING MONTH BY MONTH, MANY, MANY MONTHS BEFORE DONALD TRUMP CAME ON SCENE, BUT, NO DOUBT, WE'VE SEEN A SURGE IN THE LAST QUARTER AND EVEN AS WE SPEAK. I MEAN, IN Q1, THE FIRST, BEGINNING OF 2017, WE'RE ALSO SEEING VERY, VERY BIG NUMBERS COMING. I THINK IT'S DONALD TRUMP, BUT IT'S ALSO -- IT'S A BIGGER STORY ABOUT CONTROVERSY AND DIVISION IN THIS COUNTRY AND ACROSS THE WESTERN WORLD. IT'S BREXIT. IT'S AN UNCERTAIN EUROPE. IT'S A WORLD WHICH FEELS BOTH POLITICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY VERY UNSTABLE.

MICHELLE CARUSO-CABRERA: LEADING UP TO THE ELECTION, YOU SAID THERE WAS AN INCREASE. BECAUSE THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION, THE MEDIA WRITER JIM RUTENBERG MADE A REFERENCE TO IT CAME IN THE FORM OF CANCELLED SUBSCRIPTIONS BECAUSE OF THE COMPLAINTS YOU HAD GOTTEN BY NOT GETTING THE ELECTION RIGHT. DID YOU LOSE SUBSCRIPTIONS?

THOMPSON: SURE BUT YOU'LL UNDERSTAND THAT EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR, ELECTION OR NO ELECTION, THERE ARE PEOPLE TURNING OUT. THERE ARE PEOPLE CLOSING SUBSCRIPTIONS OR MOVING FROM PRINT TO DIGITAL. YOU GOT A RUN OF CANCELLATIONS PRETTY MUCH ALL THE TIME. THE NUMBERS WE QUOTE ARE NET NUMBERS. WHEN YOU TAKE THE CANCELLATIONS AND ADDITIONS AND ADD THEM TOGETHER. WHAT DO YOU GET? THE ANSWER IS AN ENORMOUS INCREASE. THERE WERE A FEW CANCELLED FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS SOME PEOPLE SAID THEY WERE SICK OF THE NEWS AFTER THE ELECTION RESULTS. SOME PEOPLE FELT WE'D BEEN TOO HARD ON HILLARY CLINTON AND HAD BEEN TOO FAVORABLE TO DONALD TRUMP. SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT WE WERE NEGATIVE ABOUT TRUMP.

BRIAN SULLIVAN: THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT YOU WERE TOO HARD ON HILLARY CLINTON?

THOMPSON: THERE ARE PEOPLE -- THERE ARE HILLARY LOYALISTS WHO WERE UPSET THE TIMES BROKE THE STORY ABOUT HILLARY'S PRIVATE SERVERS, FOR EXAMPLE, AND THERE WAS A FEELING AMONGST SOME OF OUR READERS THAT WE'D BEEN TOO HARD ON HILLARY. WE'VE GOT MILLIONS, 220 MILLION PEOPLE CAME TO US IN NOVEMBER ALL TOGETHER. YOU'LL FIND 220 MILLION POINTS OF VIEWS ABOUT THE NEW YORK TIMES IN THAT GROUP.

TYLER MATHISEN: DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR ADDED SUBSCRIBERS, WHETHER DIGITAL OR PRINT, ARE COMING FROM REGIONALLY AND WHERE YOU ARE LOSING THEM? WHAT I'M DRIVING AT HERE IS ARE YOU PICKING -- THE PEOPLE YOU'RE PICKING UP, WHERE ARE THEY FROM, AND DID YOU SEE A REJECTION OF THE TIMES IN THOSE STATE – IN THE CENTER OF THE COUNTRY LARGELY, AND THE SOUTH THAT WENT FOR TRUMP?

THOMPSON: FIRSTLY, I THINK THE REJECTIONS ARE SO SMALL STATISTICALLY RELATIVE TO THE INCREASES, THERE'S NOT MUCH TO BE READ INTO THEM.

MATHISEN: WHERE DO INCREASES COME FROM?

THOMPSON: PRETTY MUCH ACROSS THE COUNTRY. IF YOU SAID WE'RE SEEING QUITE A BIT OF YOUNGER PEOPLE COMING TO THE TIMES, BUT ALSO WE'RE SEEING A VERY SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN INTERNATIONAL SUBSCRIPTIONS AS WELL. SO PEOPLE, AND THE REST OF THE WORLD, WHO ARE LOOKING AT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THIS COUNTRY AND EUROPE AND ELSEWHERE, THEY WANT TO KNOW, WANT TO GET TO THE TRUE FORM AND UNDERSTAND WHAT'S HAPPENING. THEY COME TO US AS WELL.

MATHISEN: THE PRESIDENT SAID THE FAILING "NEW YORK TIMES," I ASSUME YOU DISAGREE?

THOMPSON: WELL I THINK THIS IS THE DANGER OF FAKE NEWS, EVEN THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CAN BE TAKEN IN BY IT, AND END UP SAYING THINGS THAT ARE NOT TRUE. WE'RE NOT FAILING. WE'RE GROWING AUDIENCES AND SUBSCRIPTIONS.

CARUSO-CABRERA: BUT YOUR PROFITABILITY IS DOWN YOUR REVENUES ARE DOWN YEAR OVER YEAR AND ADVERTISING REVENUE IS DOWN, PRINT ADVERTISING DOWN 20% YEAR OVER YEAR.

THOMPSON: YOU'LL UNDERSTAND WE GOT A MATURE PRINT BUSINESS, WHICH WE RECOGNIZE IT. IN FACT, OUR PRINT CIRCULATION, OUR HOME DELIVERIES THEY ARE ALSO GROWING AT THE MOMENT. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MANY QUARTERS. ACTUALLY, WE GOT MORE PEOPLE COMING TO GET THE PHYSICAL PRINT NEWSPAPER. DIGITAL BUSINESS IS GOING VERY WELL. YOU'LL SEE WE GOT VERY STRONG GROWTH IN DIGITAL ADVERTISING, AND SPECTACULAR GROWTH IN DIGITAL CONSUMER

MATHISEN: SO DO YOU EXPECT TO GROW PROFITS? MICHELLE'S POINT IS CORRECT. YEAR OVER YEAR YOUR PROFITS ARE DOWN

THOMPSON: WE'RE IN TRANSITION. I SAID REPEATEDLY ON EARNINGS CALLS, WE ARE COMPLETELY COMMITTED TO GROWING PROFITABILITY OF THE COMPANY, ABSOLUTELY.

LEE: BUT YOU ARE SPENDING A LOT OF MONEY YOU'RE 2020 PLAN, RIGHT, YOU WERE GOING TO INVEST $5 MILLION TOWARDS COVERING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SPECIFICALLY. SO YOU DO ANTICIPATE THAT THIS BUMP THAT YOU SAW IN THE FOURTH QUARTER IS A SUSTAINABLE BUMP IF NOT THE START OF SOME SORT OF TRAJECTORY?

THOMPSON: VERY MUCH SO. A LOT OF THE REASON PROFITS WERE DOWN BECAUSE WE'RE INVESTING. I SAID ON THE CALL THIS MORNING, WE'RE GOING TO INVEST IN MORE MARKETING. WE THINK WE GOT AN OPPORTUNITY BECAUSE OF THE INTENSE INTEREST AND INTENSE NEWS CYCLE. THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO MARKET AND GET NEW USERS TO COME AND BECOME PAYING CUSTOMERS.

SULLIVAN: CAN WE TALK EDITORIAL? HAS THERE BEEN ANY CONVERSATION INTERNALLY WHERE YOU SAT AROUND AND SAID, WE'VE LOST TOUCH WITH AMERICA? I UNDERSTAND YOU ARE THE "NEW YORK TIMES," BUT I WOULD IMAGINE YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER, CORRECT? WITH THE INTERNET --

THOMPSON: WE WOULD REGARD OURSELVES AS A GLOBAL NEWS PROVIDER.

SULLIVAN: GLOBAL NEWS PROVIDER. I UNDERSTAND THE UPPER EAST SIDE IS AMERICA BUT SO IS IRON MOUNTAIN. HAS THERE BEEN CONVERSATION LOOKING AROUND THE TABLE, GO, WE'VE REALLY LOST TOUCH.

THOMPSON: WELL, ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS WE HAVE THE BIGGEST AUDIENCES OF OUR HISTORY. WE HAVE MORE --

SULLIVAN: BUT ARE THEY ALL THE SAME PERSON?

THOMPSON: WE HIT 3 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS, BIGGEST NUMBER IN OUR HISTORY. WE'RE NOT LOSING TOUCH. ON THE CONTRARY. PEOPLE IN THE MILLIONS ARE COMING TO US. NOW, IF YOU ASKED ME ANOTHER QUESTION, HOW DO WE WANT TO -- HOW DO WE WANT TO COVER TRUMP? MY COLLEAGUE, DEAN BAQUET EDITOR WAS HERE --

SULLIVAN: I'M NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT TRUMP.

THOMPSON: I THINK WHAT DEAN WOULD SAY IS WE WANT TO COVER AMERICA AND THE WORLD OBJECTIVELY, INDEPENDENTLY, TRUTHFULLY --

CARUSO=CABRERA: DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING THAT NOW?

THOMPSON: I DO BELIEVE THAT AND I BELIEVE THAT'S WHY PEOPLE ARE COMING TO US IN SUCH NUMBERS.

SULLIVAN: I'M NOT SAYING THEY AREN'T COMING TO YOU I HEAR THAT, THAT'S GREAT NEWS. WE ALL WANT JOURNALISM TO SUCCEED. WE'RE ALL KIND OF IN THE SAME BATTLE.

THOMPSON: SURE.

SULLIVAN: WE NEED PEOPLE TO PAY FOR CONTENT. WHAT I AM SAYING IS 3 MILLION PEOPLE COULD BE BOSTON, NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO, BEVERLY HILLS, WHATEVER. HAVE YOU GUYS THOUGHT AT ALL YOU'RE NOT REPRESENTING PEOPLE IN TEXAS?

THOMPSON: WE GOT SUBSCRIBERS IN EVERY STATE OF THE UNION, IN ANTARTICA, IN KOREA, EVERY PART OF THE WORLD, WE HAVE READERS-- WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR READERS -- THE THING THAT REALLY DISTINGUISHES OUR READERS IS CURIOSITY AND DESIRE TO LEARN MORE AND UNDERSTAND WHAT'S HAPPENING. IT'S --

SULLIVAN: I DON'T MEAN THE READERS, BUT WHAT'S ON THE FRONT PAGE? DO YOU FEEL SOMETIMES THAT DOES NOT REFLECT THE ENTIRE COUNTRY? TOO FAR FROM THE LIBERAL POINT OF VIEW? I DON'T KNOW.

THOMPSON: TO BE HONEST WITH YOU NO I DON'T.

CARUSO-CABRERA: YOU DON'T FEEL YOU HAVE A LIBERAL POINT OF VIEW IN THE NEW YORK TIMES?

THOMPSON: THERE'S NO QUESTION –THAT THE EDITORIAL, THE OPINION PAGES

CARUSO-CABRERA: NO I'M TALKING ABOUT THE FRONT PAGE, THE ARTS PAGE, THE BUSINESS PAGE, THE SPORTS PAGE.

THOMPSON: I WANT TO BE COMPLETELY CLEAR THAT IN OUR NEWS COVERAGE, WE AIM TO BE OBJECTIVE AND TELL PEOPLE STRAIGHTFORWARDLY WHAT'S HAPPENING, SO THE NEWS WITHOUT BIAS WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR IS THE FAMOUS QUOTE.

LEE: ULTIMATELY AN ARMS RACE BETWEEN YOUR COMPANY LIKE "NEW YORK TIMES" AND "WASHINGTON POST" WITH A DEEP-POCKETED INVESTOR IN IT IN JEFF BEZOS? I MEAN, IN THE 2020 REPORT, YOU INDICATED YOU WOULD BE LAYING OFF PEOPLE AS WELL AT THE SAME TIME YOU'RE INVESTING. WHAT DO YOU FORESEE --

THOMPSON: OUR BUSINESS, AS I'VE SAID, IT'S PIVOTING. WE'RE BUILDING A DIGITAL BUSINESS AT THE SAME TIME THAT WE'RE MANAGING DECLINES IN SOME ASPECTS OF OUR PRINT BUSINESS. BUT WE HAVE THE BIGGEST NEWSROOM IN NORTH AMERICA. WE'RE COMPLETELY COMMITTED TO INVESTING WHERE WE NEED TO IN GREAT ORIGINAL JOURNALISM. OUR WHOLE PITCH TO OUR AUDIENCES IS ABOUT HAVING MORE INSIGHT, MORE DEPTH. WE HAVE, AS YOU KNOW, WE HAVE BUREAUS AROUND THE WORLD. WE HAVE REPORTERS ACROSS AMERICA. YOU ASKED ME ABOUT COVERAGE OF AMERICA. YOU KNOW, WE'RE THE ONLY GENERAL INTEREST NEWSPAPER IN THIS COUNTRY WHICH COVERS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

CARUSO-CABRERA: I'VE HEARD THE FOLLOWING CRITICISM LODGED AT YOU AND HEARD YOU ANSWER IT. SO, I'M GOING TO SAY IT AGAIN.

THOMSON: SO I CAN ANSWER IT AGAIN.

CARUSO-CABRERA: YEAH, FOR THE PUBLIC. THE WINDOW FOR A LOT OF THE STORIES, WHETHER IT'S THE FRONT PAGE, THE BUSINESS PAGE, THE ARTS PAGE, THE STYLE PAGE, EVEN THE SPORTS PAGE – RACE, CLASS, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION. THAT SEEMS TO BE THE WINDOW FOR A HUGE NUMBER OF STORIES –

THOMPSON: BUT YOU COULD ADD TO THAT NATIONAL POLITICS, NATIONAL SECURITY. YOU COULD ADD TO IT, YOU KNOW, CLASSIC CULTURAL COVERAGE, YOU COULD ADD TO IT GREAT LIFESTYLE COVERAGE. I MEAN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES," ARE A VERY BROAD – DO YOU USE THE WORD "PAGE." I MEAN, YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WHO COME TO US ARE COMING TO US PRINCIPALLY ON SMART PHONE AND THEY ARE COMING AT THE STORY LEVEL RATHER THAN FRONT PAGES OR SECTION PAGES. AND IN A WAY, THE TIMES HAS BECOME IN ITS COVERAGE, FAR BROADER THAN YOU'RE SUGGESTING.

MATHISEN: TWO QUESTIONS. BECAUSE, OBVIOUSLY, WE ARE HAVING A FUN CONVERSATION HERE, AND I KNOW EVERYONE WANTS TO GET IN SO I'M GOING FOR TWO. ONE, WHAT'S IT LIKE TO BE IN THE ROOM WITH TRUMP? WHAT'S IT LIKE FOR YOUR TEAM TO COVER MR. TRUMP? THAT'S NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, TALK TO ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO TRUTH.

THOMPSON: OKAY.

MATHISEN: AND HOW YOU LOOK AT –WHEN THERE ARE PEOPLE SAYING, THERE ARE ALTERNATIVE FACTS, WHEN THERE ARE PEOPLE SAYING, WE JUST DON'T BELIEVE YOU BECAUSE IT'S YOU, WHERE STATEMENTS OF OBJECTIVE FACT GET TURNED ARTFULLY INTO QUESTIONS OF MOTIVE.

THOMPSON: SO, TWO STRAIGHTFORWARD SIMPLE QUESTIONS THERE. THE FIRST ONE, IN THE ROOM, DONALD TRUMP, YOU ALL KNOW HE CAME TO THE TIMES JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS. HE SAID THAT MORNING, HE TWEETED OUT HE WASN'T COMING BECAUSE WE CHANGED THE TERMS OF THE MEETING.

MATHISEN: YOU DID THAT ON THE RECORD WITH HIM.

THOMPSON: WHICH WASN'T TRUE. WE SAID THE PRINCIPLE PART OF THE MEETING SHOULD BE ON THE RECORD. TO BE FAIR, FOR WHATEVER REASON HE CHANGED HIS MIND. HE CAME, AND REMARKABLE, HATS OFF, GAVE A 75 MINUTES ON THE RECORD. HAD NOT ANSWERED THE QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE, HAD A CRACK AT EVERY QUESTION THAT WAS ASKED AND I THINK ATTEMPTED TO ANSWER EVERY QUESTION. I ASKED HIM ABOUT WHETHER HE WAS COMMITTED TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT, TO THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, GIVEN WHAT HE'S SAID ABOUT TIGHTENING LIBEL LAWS AND THE REST OF IT. AND HE SAID, IN HIS EXACT WORDS, I THINK YOU'LL HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. SO, WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

MATHISEN: SO TALK TO ME ABOUT REPORTING IN AN ERA WHERE TRUTH IS QUESTIONED BECAUSE OF THE PERCEIVED POLITICAL BIAS OF THE INSTITUTION THAT'S DELIVERING IT. WHETHER IT'S YOU, WHETHER IT'S FOX, WHETHER IT'S THE JOURNAL. WHETHER IT'S US.

THOMPSON: SURE. TO STATE THE OBVIOUS, THIS IS NOT A NEW PHENOMENOM. DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR –

SULLIVAN: EXACTLY. I'M GLAD YOU BROUGHT THIS UP.

THOMPSON: YOU HAD AN INCREDIBLY DIVIDED MEDIA.

SULLIVAN: WE AND RANDOLPH HEARST EFFECTIVELY STARTED THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR BY HIS HEADLINES ABOUT THE BOMBING OF THE –

THOMPSON: OR AT LEAST CLAIMED TO. THAT'S RIGHT. SO THE IDEA THAT THE PRESS SHOULD BE THEMSELVES, THE MEDIA SHOULD BE HELD TO ACCOUNT AND CAN BE CHALLENGED, I THINK IS PART OF A FREE SOCIETY. WHAT I WANT TO SAY, THOUGH, IS THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRIVING FOR THE TRUTH, STRIVING TO UNDERSTAND, PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS, PROFESSIONAL EDITORS DOING THEIR BEST TO UNDERSTAND AND CONVEY THAT TO THE PUBLIC, WHICH I HONESTLY BELIEVE "THE NEW YORK TIMES" NEWSROOM TRIES TO DO. AND PEOPLE WHO ARE LITERALLY JUST MAKING IT UP. AND I HAVE TO SAY, AS WELL, POLITICIANS WHO EITHER STATE OR RETWEET AND SPREAD MANIFESTLY FALSE ASSERTIONS – SO NOT OPINIONS BUT ALLEGED ASSERTIONS OF FACT, WHICH ACTUALLY ARE NOT TRUE – AND I THINK WHAT IS STRIKING, NOT JUST HERE – I THINK IT WAS TRUE OF THE BREXIT DEBATE IN MY COUNTRY, THE U.K. LAST YEAR – IS THE MORE NAKED AND RECKLESS STATEMENT OF FALSEHOODS, BY POLITICAL LEADERS, WHICH ARE THEN OF COURSE FAITHFULLY PICKED UP BY BIAS MEDIA.

SULLIVAN: DO YOU FEEL – SORRY – TO YOUR POINT, EXCUSE ME, MICHELLE. DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE'S A MISCONCEPTION ABOUT MEDIA IN THIS COUNTRY AS ALWAYS BEING SORT OF FREE AND FAIR? LIKE MANUFACTURING. WE LOOK AT IT IN THIS NARROW PRISM LIKE AMERICA'S THIS GREAT MANUFACTURING COUNTRY. ACTUALLY, FOR MOST OF OUR HISTORY, WE WERE SORT OF LOW COST, CHILD LABOR, WE STOLE THE JOBS FROM THE U.K. ONLY AFTER WORLD WAR II, WHEN WE HAD OBLITERATED EVERYBODY ELSE DID WE HAVE THIS MANUFACTURING RENAISSANCE. AND WE SORT OF THINK OH, WE ALWAYS WERE THIS GREAT MANUFACTURER. DO YOU FEEL THE SAME IS TRUE ABOUT MEDIA? THAT WE'VE GOT THIS SORT OF NARROW LENS, AND THE REALITY IS MEDIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN – BEN FRANKLIN WROTE UNDER A PSEUDONYM FOR PETE'S SAKE, THAT, PERHAPS, MEDIA ISN'T WHAT WE THINK IT IS?

THOMPSON: SO I THINK, LOOK, WE'VE GOT ALL THE CLASSIC ISSUES WE'VE TALKED ABLOUT THEM ABOUT MEDIA. OVERLAID ON THAT IS THE FACT THAT AS AN INDUSTRY WE'RE WRESTLING WITH THIS ASTONISHING DIGITAL REVOLUTION, AND I THINK IT'S TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF HOW YOU DO GREAT REPORTING WHEN THE NEWS IS ON ALL THE TIME, WHEN THE PEOPLE YOU ARE REPORTING ON HAVE A DIRECT LINE TO THE PUBLIC VIA TWITTER AND SO FORTH. AND OUR AUDIENCES, I THINK, ARE FIGURING OUT NEW WAYS OF CONNECTING WITH THE NEWS. AND WHAT I FEEL EXCITED ABOUT IS WE'VE GOT TENS AND TENS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING TO US, THAT ARE OFTEN COMING TO US FROM SMART PHONES, THEY ARE SPENDING A LOT OF TIME WITH US, AND THEY ARE FIGURING OUT NEW WAYS OF KIND OF WORKING THEIR WAY THROUGH. I THINK THE PUBLIC ARE MORE HUNGRY TODAY THAN THEY HAVE EVER BEEN FOR THE REAL INFORMATION, FOR THE REAL FACTS, AND WE WANT TO PROVIDE THEM.

CARUSO-CABRERA: COVERING DONALD TRUMP, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE RAN A COVER STORY EARLY IN THE ELECTION, AND THE AUTHOR SAID IT WAS REFRESHING TO COVER DONALD TRUMP. UNLIKE HILLARY CLINTON, HE USED THE WORDS STRAIGHT JACKET, TWO MINUTES IF YOU WERE LUCKY. HE HAD UNLIMITED ACCESS TO DONALD TRUMP. WHAT IS IT LIKE NOW AFTER THE ELECTION?

THOMPSON: YEAH. SURE, STILL, I BELIEVE, MY COLLEAGUES IN OUR NEWSROOM WOULD SAY, IT'S STILL ASTONISHING HOW OPEN – WE HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO LITERALLY ANSWERS HIS PHONE. YOU RING HIM ON HIS MOBILE WITH A JOURNALISTIC QUESTION, HE WILL ANSWER HIMSELF RATHER THAN 15 LAYERS. HAS INVITED TIMES' JOURNALISTS INTO THE WHITE HOUSE FOR INTERVIEWS WITH HIM AND SENIOR MEMBERS OF HIS TEAM. SO YOU HAVE AN ASTONISHINGLY OPEN, OPEN PRESIDENT. ON THE OTHER HAND, MANIFESTLY, ONE OF THE POINTS FOR THE TIMES AND FOR OTHER MEDIA, HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HAVING TO POINT OUT TO THE PUBLIC THAT STATEMENTS WHICH HAVE COME FROM THE PRESIDENT AND THE WHITE HOUSE ARE NOT ACTUALLY TRUE. SO GREAT OPENNESS, BUT THERE ARE – AND WE'VE BEEN REPORTING THIS EXTENSIVELY – MANY EXAMPLES, INCLUDING, BY THE WAY, WHAT HE SAID ABOUT "THE NEW YORK TIMES" AS A COMPANY, WHERE HE'S MADE STATEMENTS WHICH ARE NOT ACTUALLY TRUE.

LEE: I HAVE ONE LAST QUESTION FOR YOU. AND THAT HAS TO DO WITH YOUR MESSAGE OF REPOSITIONING THE COMPANY. DOES REPOSITIONING MEAN THAT "THE NEW YORK TIMES" ACTUALLY GETS SMALLER? THAT THERE ARE FEWER PEOPLE WORKING AT "THE NEW YORK TIMES," THAT THERE ARE FEWER SECTIONS, THAT THERE ARE FEWER PAGES PRINTED?

THOMPSON: THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS GOING ON THERE.

LEE: YEAH, SURE.

THOMPSON: WE'RE GOING TO HAVE AND WE'RE COMMITTED TO A GIGANTIC JOURNALISTIC OPERATION. I THINK IT IS AS BIG NOW AS IT WAS 20 OR 30 YEARS AGO. HOW THAT OPERATION UNFOLDS, HOW MANY PEOPLE – MY COLLEAGUE DEAN BAQUET HAS TALKED ABOUT MAKING SOME REDUCTIONS IN OUR NEWSROOM. BUT YOU CAN HEAR IN TODAY'S RESULTS, WE'RE CONTINUING TO INVEST IN THE COMPANY, AND MY LONG – MY AMBITION IS FOR A COMPANY WHICH RETURNS TO GREATER PROFITABILITY. WE ARE VERY PROFITABLE NOW, WE WANT TO BE MORE PROFITABLE THAN WE ARE NOW. AND I BELIEVE IT'S GOING TO BE A BIGGER "NEW YORK TIMES" OF MORE INFLUENCE IN AMERICA AND THE WORLD.

MATHISEN: THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. THOMPSON. WE APPRECIATE IT.

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