The Notre Dame fire was a bigger story for the NY Times than the delivery of the Mueller report, says CEO

Key Points
  • The New York Times' business isn't just dependent on President Donald Trump, says CEO Mark Thompson.
  • The newspaper is "very broad based," he says.
  • That's one of the reasons the Times is seeing a steady growth in subscribers, he says.
New York Times is full service, isn't living off the Trump story: NYT CEO

The New York Times' business isn't just dependent on President Donald Trump and the U.S. political cycle, CEO Mark Thompson told CNBC on Wednesday.

In fact, the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris last month drew more readers than the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he said.

"When news came out that Attorney General Barr was going to receive the Mueller report, that was also the same week when there was the terrible fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris," Thompson said on "Closing Bell."

"Notre Dame was a bigger story for the Times than the Mueller report was that week."

Flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019 afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.
Francois Guillot | AFP | Getty Images

The fire at the famed cathedral in mid-April caused the landmark's roof and spire to collapse, but it was ultimately saved from complete destruction.

Meanwhile, Mueller said his investigation didn't establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia in its election interference campaign.

Thompson's response about the Mueller report came after he was asked if the paper has seen a drop-off in readership after the special counsel's findings were released, similar to what some cable news channels had experienced.

President is entitled to say what he wants about the New York Times: NYT CEO

The CEO also said that the newspaper is "very broad based" and noted that its recent recaps of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" have been doing well.

"The Times is very full service. We're not like one of those cable networks which have been kind of living off the Trump story and nothing else. We do a full range of stories," he added.

"That is one of the reasons that we're seeing, a kind of, steady growth in subscribers, which is not dependent on the U.S. political cycle alone."

— CNBC's Mike Calia and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.