Remembering The IHT

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We’ve been catching up on Madam Secretary episodes. In “The Middle Way,” the Secretary of State’s husband, Professor Henry McCord, is momentarily glimpsed reading the International New York Times at the breakfast table. (McCord is the sort of lecturer I had always wanted to be; and I suspect one most students also want to take.) That newspaper is meant for an overseas audience, not for the U.S. domestic market.

I have a yellowing copy of its forerunner, the International Herald Tribune (IHT), filed away somewhere. In January 1988, it was the first one I’d ever bought. Place of purchase: Why, France, of course. πŸ™‚

Iconic Paris landmark. [Photo by me (1994, I think).]
Iconic Paris landmark. [Photo by me (1994, I think).]

Wikipedia explains the IHT’s history under the name International New York Times. It started in 1887 as the Paris Herald – a paper published in Paris for Americans living there. Through mergers, in the 20th century it became the Paris Herald Tribune. Eventually read much beyond France, in 1967 it was renamed the International Herald Tribune.

Today, when we just swipe to the likes of the Watershed Post (Catskills, New York) on our iPad while in north London, it’s easy to forget what the IHT once meant. Even if you spoke a local language well, local media wasn’t usually big on covering domestic American news or, say, Major League Baseball. Aside from tuning in to Voice of America radio, the IHT was often the easiest way of staying current with what was happening in the States:

Excerpt from "Distances," on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.
Excerpt from “Distances,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

And it could also be an “ice breaker” of sorts. πŸ˜‰

The NYT company, which by now owned it fully, ditched the Herald Tribune names completely in 2013 in favor of the New York Times. That was certainly their right.

I suppose given the reality of the net, the informational “need” for the “Herald Tribune” itself had largely vanished by 2013. It reflected another “informational” time. That era was by then pretty much over.

Yet there was history and a role that the “Herald Tribune” brand immediately identified to potential purchasers. It stood out as special abroad. To me anyway, International New York Times simply isn’t the same.

Try to have a good Monday, wherever you are in the world. πŸ™‚

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