As one of the most prominent newspapers in the world, The New York Times has a long and storied history since its founding in 1851. But who actually owns and controls this influential media organization today?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The New York Times Company is a publicly traded company, with the Ochs-Sulzberger family maintaining majority voting control through their Class B shares.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the complex ownership structure of The New York Times. You’ll learn about the early days under Adolph Ochs, the creation of the company’s dual-class share structure, and how the Ochs-Sulzberger family has retained voting power for over 120 years.

We’ll also unpack the roles of major shareholders like Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, as well as the impact of the company’s digital transformation on its ownership and governance in recent decades.

With over 5 headings, this in-depth article will help make sense of who really controls The New York Times in the 21st century.

Adolph Ochs Gains Control in 1896

In 1896, Adolph Ochs, a young entrepreneur from Tennessee, made a significant move that would shape the future of The New York Times. At the time, the newspaper was struggling financially and had a tarnished reputation.

However, Ochs saw potential in the publication and believed he could turn it around.

Purchase of the Struggling Newspaper

Ochs purchased The New York Times for $75,000, a substantial amount of money at the time. This acquisition marked the beginning of his journey to revitalize the newspaper and establish it as one of the most influential media outlets in the world.

Despite the skepticism of many, Ochs was determined to make a difference.

With his entrepreneurial spirit and keen business sense, Ochs implemented several changes to improve the newspaper’s financial situation. He introduced cost-cutting measures, streamlined operations, and implemented innovative advertising strategies.

Additionally, he invested heavily in modernizing the printing process and expanding the paper’s distribution network.

Focus on Quality Journalism and Integrity

Under Ochs’ leadership, The New York Times underwent a significant transformation in terms of journalistic standards and integrity. He believed in providing readers with unbiased, accurate, and informative reporting.

Ochs set strict ethical guidelines for the newspaper’s journalists and encouraged them to adhere to the highest journalistic standards.

This commitment to quality journalism helped The New York Times regain its credibility and attract a loyal readership. Ochs believed that a newspaper’s success lies in its ability to serve the public interest and provide reliable information.

This principle became the foundation of The New York Times’ reputation as a trusted source of news.

Ochs’ dedication to quality journalism and integrity laid the groundwork for The New York Times’ future success. His vision and leadership continue to shape the newspaper’s values and influence its editorial decisions.

Today, The New York Times remains a symbol of journalistic excellence and serves as a vital source of news and information for millions of readers worldwide.

For more information on the history of The New York Times, you can visit their official website here.

The Sulzberger Family’s Enduring Legacy

The New York Times, one of the most influential newspapers in the world, owes much of its success to the enduring legacy of the Sulzberger family. For over a century, the Sulzbergers have played a pivotal role in shaping the newspaper’s editorial direction and maintaining its journalistic integrity.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Takes Over in 1935

The Sulzberger family’s involvement with The New York Times began in 1896 when Adolph S. Ochs, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger’s grandfather, acquired the struggling newspaper. However, it was Arthur Ochs Sulzberger who truly solidified the family’s legacy when he took over as publisher in 1935.

Under his leadership, The New York Times underwent significant transformations, embracing modern journalism practices and expanding its readership.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger’s commitment to journalistic excellence was unwavering. He spearheaded investigative reporting and brought in talented journalists who were unafraid to tackle controversial subjects.

This commitment to quality journalism continues to be a cornerstone of The New York Times’ reputation today.

Generations of Family Leadership

Following Arthur Ochs Sulzberger’s tenure, the Sulzberger family continued to maintain their leadership role at The New York Times. His son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., took over as publisher in 1992 and served in this position for 25 years.

During his tenure, he navigated the newspaper through the challenges of the digital age, adapting to the rise of online journalism while upholding the values and traditions set by his father.

Today, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.’s son, A.G. Sulzberger, carries on the family’s legacy as the publisher of The New York Times. Under his leadership, the newspaper has continued to innovate and adapt to the rapidly changing media landscape, embracing new technologies and expanding its digital presence while maintaining its commitment to high-quality journalism.

Dual-Class Share Structure Established

To ensure the independence and long-term stability of The New York Times, the Sulzberger family established a dual-class share structure. This structure gives the family effective control over the newspaper through Class B shares, which have ten times the voting power of the publicly traded Class A shares.

The Sulzbergers’ commitment to preserving the newspaper’s independence has been crucial in maintaining its journalistic integrity. It allows the family to make decisions based on the best interests of the publication and its readers, rather than being swayed by short-term financial pressures.

The Sulzberger family’s enduring legacy at The New York Times is a testament to their dedication to quality journalism and their commitment to upholding the newspaper’s values. Their leadership has shaped the newspaper into the globally respected institution it is today, ensuring that it continues to inform and inspire readers around the world.

New Challenges and Owners in the Digital Age

The rise of the digital age has brought forth numerous challenges for traditional print media outlets, and The New York Times is no exception. With the decline in print revenue, the newspaper has had to find innovative ways to adapt and survive in the ever-changing media landscape.

Declines in Print Revenue

Like many other print publications, The New York Times has experienced significant declines in print revenue over the years. This can be attributed to the shift in consumer preferences towards digital media and the rise of online news platforms.

As a result, the newspaper has had to reevaluate its business model and find new sources of revenue to sustain its operations.

In recent years, The New York Times has made strides in expanding its digital presence and increasing its online readership. The newspaper now offers digital subscriptions and has invested in developing a robust online platform to cater to the changing needs of its audience.

Investment from Carlos Slim

One notable development in the ownership of The New York Times is the investment made by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. In 2009, Slim’s company, Grupo Carso, provided a loan of $250 million to the newspaper during a time of financial uncertainty.

This investment helped The New York Times navigate through the economic downturn and solidify its position in the digital age.

Carlos Slim’s involvement in The New York Times sparked some controversy and raised concerns about the potential influence of a foreign investor on the newspaper’s editorial independence. However, the company has maintained its commitment to journalistic integrity and editorial autonomy.

Increased Financial Pressures on Leadership

The digital age has also brought increased financial pressures on The New York Times’ leadership. The newspaper has had to make tough decisions regarding cost-cutting measures, including staff reductions and the closure of some regional bureaus.

These actions were necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

Despite these challenges, The New York Times remains one of the most respected and influential news organizations in the world. Its commitment to quality journalism and its ability to adapt to the digital age have allowed it to maintain its relevance and reach a global audience.

The Company Goes Public

The New York Times, one of the most iconic newspapers in the world, made a significant move in its ownership structure when it decided to go public. This decision brought about a number of changes and opened up opportunities for new investors to become part owners of the esteemed publication.

IPO in 1969

In 1969, The New York Times underwent an initial public offering (IPO), marking a major milestone in its history. This move allowed the company to raise capital by selling shares of its stock to the public for the first time.

The IPO was met with great enthusiasm from investors, reflecting the high regard and trust placed in the newspaper’s brand and reputation.

The IPO not only provided a financial boost for The New York Times, but it also signaled a shift in the company’s ownership structure. Prior to the IPO, the Sulzberger family had maintained majority ownership and control over the newspaper.

However, with the public offering, the ownership landscape began to change.

Public Shareholders Gain Minority Ownership

Following the IPO, public shareholders gained the opportunity to own a portion of The New York Times. While the Sulzberger family continued to hold a significant stake, their ownership percentage was diluted as more shares were made available to the public.

This allowed individuals and institutional investors to become minority owners of the newspaper.

The inclusion of public shareholders brought a new dynamic to The New York Times, as the company now had a diverse group of stakeholders with a vested interest in its success. This broader ownership structure introduced a level of accountability and transparency, as decisions made by the company would now directly impact a larger number of investors.

Ochs-Sulzberger Family Maintains Control Today

Since its inception, The New York Times has been closely tied to the Ochs-Sulzberger family. The family’s ownership of the newspaper has spanned over a century, with their influence and control remaining intact even in the present day.

Majority of Voting Rights Through Dual-Class Shares

A key factor in the Ochs-Sulzberger family’s continued control is the implementation of dual-class shares. This structure allows the family to hold a majority of the voting rights despite owning a smaller percentage of the overall shares.

By having a separate class of shares with enhanced voting power, the family can effectively maintain control over important decisions regarding the newspaper’s operations and direction.

This arrangement has faced its fair share of criticism, with some arguing that it concentrates too much power in the hands of a single family. However, supporters of the dual-class share structure argue that it enables the Ochs-Sulzberger family to make long-term strategic decisions that prioritize the newspaper’s editorial integrity and independence.

It’s worth noting that The New York Times is not the only media company to adopt dual-class shares. Other prominent companies, such as Facebook and Google, have similar ownership structures in place.

Editorial Independence Preserved

Despite the Ochs-Sulzberger family’s control, The New York Times has maintained a strong commitment to editorial independence. The family has made it a priority to ensure that the newspaper’s journalists and editors have the freedom to report and publish without interference.

This commitment to independence has been crucial in establishing The New York Times as a trusted source of news and information. Readers rely on the newspaper’s unbiased reporting and rigorous journalistic standards, which have been upheld throughout its long history.

Furthermore, the Ochs-Sulzberger family has actively supported initiatives that protect and promote the freedom of the press. They have championed the First Amendment rights and have been vocal advocates for the importance of a free and independent press in a democratic society.

The New York Times’ dedication to editorial independence has been recognized and praised by numerous organizations and individuals. It has received numerous Pulitzer Prizes for its investigative journalism and has been acknowledged as one of the most influential newspapers in the world.


For over 120 years, The New York Times has been controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, descendants of Adolph Ochs. Despite public ownership, this family retains majority voting power through Class B shares.

While facing challenges in the digital era, their long-term ownership has allowed The Times to maintain its quality journalism and editorial integrity. The Ochs-Sulzberger family’s enduring legacy ensures The New York Times remains one of the most impactful newspapers in the world.

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