How Necessary Is The NYT‘s R&D Department?

How does The New York Times plan to usher in the newest digital innovations? Just ask its fulltime research & development department, which according to this lengthy profile in Editor & Publisher, “has spent nearly four years reviewing the newest technologies and gadgets for use in spreading news — and advertising — while also digging deep into audience and reader data, habits and trends.”

So while the Times has been asking staffers to take buyouts, cutting salaries and implementing furloughs, the paper has kept 13 employees on staff for the past four years plotting and planning the future of the Times, which includes connecting to Facebook and launching a daily quiz, or introducing Times Reader 2.0 and other new digital products.

The Times has started to become more forward thinking about its digital content, but like many other traditional print pubs, it has a ways to go. Does the R&D team make a difference over, say, how much different its products are from a competitor like The Wall Street Journal or The Washington Post? Are they very different?

What do you think? How necessary is the Times R&D team?

How necessary is the Times’ R&D department?(polling)

‘New York Times’ R&D Team Seeks Next Big ThingEditor & Publisher