The NY Times overlooks the fundamentals of digital news: Their website is still a news- paper website, instead of a news website. It's print newspaper articles copied to the web, rather than news on the web platform.
One problem is their inability to communicate using modern tools (i.e., anything but text). Just about any blogger can communicate by inserting images, audio, or video inline in a post, while the NY Times, with all its resources, seems to be text with an image or other multimedia occasionally stapled onto the top of the page or on a separate page.
Sometimes text is the appropriate tool; sometimes an image, audio, or video is. For example, if someone says something important (or dubious or otherwise extraordinary), rather than transcribe it to text, show a video clip of them saying it (i.e., Here is Hilary Clinton's response: ) Then the readers can judge the body language, intonation, etc. for themselves. Another example is their arts reviews, where they describe key visual aspects of a painting, film, or performance -- but in text. Why not use clips or images, inline, as needed? This is the web in 2013, not paper in 1950.
The clear answer seems to be the universal recipe for obsolescence: That's the way they've always done it. If the NY Times can't compete with anyone with a Wordpress blog, they are way behind the curve.