5 Things You Didn't Know About The New York Times

On September 18, 1851, the first edition of The New York Times was published which was originally titled the New-York Daily Times. Here are 5 surprising facts you probably never knew about the New York Times...

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The New York Times Started The Famous Times Square Ball Drop The annual New Year’s Eve ball stop in Times Square is a big event attended by huge crowds and watched on television by around 1.2 billion people. The event was originally created by The New York Times in 1905 to promote their new headquarters, which was right in the square. The area was called Longacre Square at the time but was renamed Times Square later that year. Interestingly, the original event did not involve a ball but lots of fireworks instead. People returned to watch the event the following year, and the tradition has continued ever since. The New York Times used fireworks until 1907 when it dropped the first electrified ball.

The Editor of the Crossword Puzzle Has an Enigmatology Degree Indiana native Will Shortz is The New York Times puzzle editor, a position he has held since 1993. He has always loved puzzles and made and sold his first one at age 14. When he got older, he decided to study enigmatology, the analysis of puzzles, in college. Although no school offered that course of study, he got the degree when Indiana University allowed him to create a major in enigmatology. As far as he is aware, Shortz is the only human with a degree in enigmatology. 

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The New York Times Once Condemned The Crossword Puzzle The New York Times is now famous for its crossword puzzles. Interestingly, it condemned the puzzle when the now-defunct New York World newspaper published their first crossword puzzle. Most New York–based newspapers joined the fad and were all publishing puzzles by 1920 except, of course, The New York Times. The New York Times changed its opinion about puzzles after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  The editor of the Sunday edition, informed his publisher that readers required something to relax from the deadly news of World War II. That “something” was the crossword puzzle. The New York Times published its first crossword puzzle on February 15, 1942, and has not looked back since.

The Times Ran a Contest to Change Its Slogan When you see the slogan “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” you know you are dealing with The New York Times. However, this could have been very different if the newspaper had changed its slogan when it tried to do so in 1896. After Adolph S. Ochs acquired the paper from its former owners, he decided that the newspaper needed a new slogan and organized a contest of “10 words or less” that would describe the newspaper best with $100 going to the winner. He got more than he bargained for with some suggestions such as “Fresh Facts Free From Filth” and “News, Not Nausea.” The winner was D.M. Redfield, who suggested “All the World’s News, but Not a School for Scandal.” Redfield received the $100 prize, but The New York Times added that they would not adopt his slogan. They would just stick with “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

BuzzFeed "Borrowed" Their Slogan In 2017, BuzzFeed created a new morning show, AM to DM, which it aired live on Twitter. The show’s slogan was “All the News Too Lit for Print.” This was clearly a pun on “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” which The New York Times had trademarked in 1996. Shani O. Hilton, who was in charge of BuzzFeed’s US news division, apologized to the New York Times in a blog post about the slogan.  BuzzFeed later changed its slogan after The New York Times got its attorneys involved.