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NY Times To Charge For Online Content

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the soon-we'll-be-nostalgic-for-free-registration dept.

The Almighty Buck 488

Hugh Pickens writes "New York Magazine reports that the NY Times appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of debate inside the paper, the choice has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system. The decision to go paid is monumental for the Times, and culminates a yearlong debate that grew contentious, people close to the talks say. Hanging over the deliberations is the fact that the Times' last experience with pay walls, TimesSelect, was deeply unsatisfying and exposed a rift between Sulzberger and his roster of A-list columnists, particularly Tom Friedman and Maureen Dowd, who grew frustrated at their dramatic fall-off in online readership. The argument for remaining free was based on the belief that nytimes.com is growing into an English-language global newspaper of record, with a vast audience — 20 million unique readers — that would prove lucrative as web advertising matured. But with the painful declines in advertising brought on by last year's financial crisis, the argument that online advertising might never grow big enough to sustain the paper's high-cost, ambitious journalism — gained more weight."

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488 comments

Oh well (5, Interesting)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802124)

Oh well, I just won't bother reading it then. I will read www.bbc.co.uk or www.telegraph.co.uk or theregister.co.uk or www.zeit.de or cnn.com or slashdot.org or www.dailymail.co.uk or and the list goes on.

Re:Oh well (3, Interesting)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802170)

Oh well, no big deal to me. By the time I found something on NYT that I was interested in reading, it was already in their paid section and no longer free to view.

I wonder if the printer versions and such will also be "paid only" or if that little loophole will remain unfixed.

Re:Oh well (5, Insightful)

DangerFace (1315417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802180)

Oh well, I just won't bother reading it then. I will read www.bbc.co.uk or www.telegraph.co.uk or theregister.co.uk or www.zeit.de or cnn.com or slashdot.org or www.dailymail.co.uk or and the list goes on.

This is the whole problem, of course - the more sites go paywalled, the more incentive there is for the others to stay free. Very few media sources I've found actually provide a significantly better service than many other sources, so it simply doesn't make sense for me as a consumer to pay for product I can get for free. Of course, there are those that say that my way of thinking will kill journalism / music / whatever, but I'll pay as soon as there is significant incentive to (ie. if they actually start dying off).

Re:Oh well (2, Insightful)

tebee (1280900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802454)

I thought part of the problem was they already are starting to die off......

I still don't think this is a good solution or that they have thought it through, surely the same recession that has killed online advertising revenues has also severely reduced the number of people willing and/or able to pay ?

Re:Oh well (4, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802456)

The BBC's site may always remain free. Perhaps it's not really an issue these days but if they were to charge those outside of the UK then they would have to ensure that their GeoIP code works flawlessly and should they be able to charge licence fee holders purely because they went to France on holiday and want to check the news or because their mobile phone contract may have been purchased from a neighbouring country?

I would imagine it's easier for the to keep it as is and if everyone else does a pay wall then that's just more business they'll get looking at their ads on the international versions.

Re:Oh well (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802464)

Very few media sources I've found actually provide a significantly better service than many other sources, so it simply doesn't make sense for me as a consumer to pay for product I can get for free.

Since the majority of what these sites offer are opinion pieces I have to agree with you. For me to pay to read such material it would have to have a constant and significant quality, and if I could find that from a particular writer I wouldn't mind paying that person directly to read only their material (on a blog or personal site or whatever). One could argue for paying for news but if I was going to subscribe to a site delivering news it would have to be purely that; new events of significance (and not what so and so celebrity did over the weekend), reported matter of factly and as objectively as possible.

The product these sites are trying to sell us is quite frankly, in my opinion, of little value (taken as a whole) with only a few articles of interest now and again. Maybe they'll be able to carve out their niche over time, but I seriously doubt anything near "20 million unique readers" will bother paying for this type of thing.

Re:Oh well (5, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802522)

It's not going to kill journalism - it's just going to thin it out. Advertising revenue is perfectly viable to support news sites out there - it's just not enough to support the current number of them. Every small town has a newspaper. Most larger ones have several. Every large-ish city typically has 4-5 television stations that also have their own news departments that do journalism.

Go to Google's news aggragator. Every article they have has typically a few thousand versions of the same article at different sites. In reality, rather than thousands, we really only need a few dozen traditional news sites. I don't care how much they fight it out and die until we whittle down to an appropriate amount.

Re:Oh well (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802732)

It's not going to kill journalism - it's just going to thin it out.

Pah. Journalism has killed journalism. Your typical "journalist" these days is a person who rewords a company's press release and sources a relevant picture.

When was the last time you read an article that included a direct quote? Or asked someone a pertinent question? Or hell, even showed any knowledge of the subject material?

For online publications you typically get more journalism from the comments section. "Hey, they said it was coming out this month in the last press release. Why the delay?" "XYZ happened."

Re:Oh well (2, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802572)

And the converse: the more sites go paywalled, the safer it is for the next to go paywalled. It's not unlike the airline industry, which has been in revenue hell forever, being essentially nothing but price competition. Now, they're starting to charge for things they didn't used to. The public is up in arms! But they're all doing it. If you don't like it, you can drive.

Are the airlines/newspapers evil for wanting to make money? Are the consumers evil for wanting something to cost as close to nothing as possible? No, in both cases.

Offering content online has to be worth the trouble. If it's not, they're just going to quit. Ooooh, readership! Frankly, I don't care about readership if I'm a newspaper, I care about revenue (and yes, one is a proxy for the other, but don't lose sight of which one you really care about--it's profit). Losing a bunch of readers who don't actually bring any revenue isn't really a problem. We will eventually settle into something that mostly works.

Re:Oh well (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802744)

IMO journalism is dead. For actual news I'd rather look at Wikipedia or my local coverage. I don't care much for opinion pieces because they're almost always biased, poorly informed, and outdated. I'd rather hear community discussion than some big shot tell me what they think.

Re:Oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802184)

Daily Mail? *shudder*

Re:Oh well (0)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802474)

The Daily Mail doesn't even contain news. I'm not sure the parent is aware of that.

Re:Oh well: me, too (-1, Troll)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802300)

Well, ok! State-supporting content, in-your-face attitude because they know better than me *AND* we get to pay, too?

This is liberal thinking. Consider this- it's the way democrats in America think.

Running a city's subway service, all runs make their cost but one.

1. Charge more for that route.

2. People are now riding it less; we don't know why.

3. Raise taxes until we GET that money back, and enough to hire my nephew.

Conservatives work it this way:

1. Charge less for the route. Point advertising to the fact the run is there; make it *easier* for people to use it. Coupons, discounts, whatever it takes.

2. If it's not enough, close the line, and see if any other business could use it.

It's really not that hard. We just have to remember why things were so great under Regan.

AND THIS PAPER DOES IT'S BEST TO DEFEAT Conservatism! I say, "let'em crash". :>

Re:Oh well: me, too (1, Offtopic)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802390)

Good thing you're not in Sweden, here the right-wingers generally do the following (sorry if any swedish right-wingers take offense but seriously, this happens all the time in towns and cities here):

  1. Something is unprofitable (or is made to seem unprofitable for ideological "the government shouldn't own $FOO" reasons).
  2. Sell it cheaply and rent it back at a yearly cost close to what it was sold for (or we simply get rid of it completely if it's minor enough and no politician stands to gain anything from the sale).

Of course, our left-wing politicians aren't much better but at least when they promise to raise taxes and spend more money they're somewhat honest about their intentions, now if we could only get some politicians who don't think free speech, personal integrity and copyright are minor issues best decided by whatever lobbyist spends the most money on them...

/Mikael

Re:Oh well (1)

CyrusOmega (1261328) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802302)

As much as we don't like paying for content, someone has to pay for for the journalist to do their job. If that can be done through ad money, great. These big mega news corps have found that putting content online ain't cheap. Adding any channel costs money and if the ROI isn't there the channel dies.

I would be interested in the number of *journalists* the sites above have employed. Some do I am sure, but news usually has to bubble up to these purely online news sites which usually comes from places like the NYT (think slashdot).

I'm not saying money can't be made via free online content, but having close ties to the news world, I can say with confidence that they are hurting. It's an industry shift that started with the Internet and will continue until most content is purely online. How much will this content cost? I have no idea, but someone will pay for it.

Re:Oh well (2, Interesting)

CxDoo (918501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802518)

You are wrong. No one has to pay for the content; there's too much of it already.
It is nonviable for producers to keep pushing crap at loss, but the end result will be less content, not higher prices. Higher prices will be with us for a very short time.

Re:Oh well (0, Troll)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802626)

As much as we don't like paying for content, someone has to pay for for the journalist to do their job.

I will argue that a lot of those so called "journalists" are not doing much reporting beyond writing what thoughts occur inside their heads about various issues. And that type of reporting I can get from John down on the corner writing in his blog. As many others have said in their replies on this thread; there is a lot of dead weight in this industry. A relatively small number of journalists are going around seeing, hearing, asking, and fact checking; most seem to be permanently stuck inside their offices whining about the unfairness of "teh internets".

Quite frankly I expect a large number of those that consider themselves journalists to be out of job ten-twenty years down the line. With internet blogs covering most of the opinion piece market, and only a small number of very active people being able to live off being what one could call a full-time journalist. Already a lot of pieces on various sites are written by people who have other jobs (mostly well-knowns from various industries; especially the entertainment industry, and a range of authors).

How much will this content cost? I have no idea, but someone will pay for it.

What the next decades will uncover is exactly what type of content people will pay for and how much they will pay. Maybe my speculation is way off, maybe not; time will tell. One thing is for certain what we get in the end won't look much like what we got right now. And a lot of people will fall by the wayside as the industry changes.

Re:Oh well (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802388)

I find that foreign outlets -- particularly the BBC -- will report on U.S. political news faster that U.S. outlets do (if at all).

Re:Oh well (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802578)

And they manage to do it with more integrity too.

Re:Oh well (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802400)

Please don't read dailymail.co.uk, it will only encourage them.

*shudder*

Re:Oh well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802424)

Yeah right, theregister.co.uk is comparable to nytimes.com

Free-Market Principle: Quality commands a price. (3, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802426)

The reason that the "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ) can succeed at charging for content is that the news reports and editorial opinions published by the WSJ are worth what you pay. The quality is outstanding, regardless of your political bent.

The "New York Times" (NYT) also publishes content that is quite good (but is not as good as the content from the WSJ). The NYT will also succeed at charging for its content.

The good things in life are not free. Reporters, columnists, and editors work hard day and night to produce the high-quality content at the WSJ and the NYT. We Slashdotters should not expect that they work for free. Certainly, most Slashdotters will not work for free.

On a side note, a newspaper like the "Sacramento Bee" will not succeed at charging for content. It is mediocre and is not worth any price.

Re:Free-Market Principle: Quality commands a price (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802514)

Certainly, most Slashdotters will not work for free.

Ah hahahahahahahahahaha!

You said that here?!? F/OSS central?!?!

Ah hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Sonna bitch - I shit my pants!

Ah hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Re:Free-Market Principle: Quality commands a price (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802516)

The NYT will also succeed at charging for its content.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they already try this and find it a dismal failure? I seem to remember I stopped reading any of their articles some years ago when they began some stupid restrictions on access.

Re:Free-Market Principle: Quality commands a price (0)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802598)

The Wallstreet Journal high quality? Bullcrap!

The Wallstreet Journal can do what they are doing because right now those who want the Wallstreet Journal are of that mindset. Even though financial types use computers they are VERY VERY old fashioned when it comes to technology. I know I work in this industry and I am amazed at how far back some of these financial whizz's are.

When the next generation of financial types start trading eg 20 somethings they will not be buying the Wallstreet Journal and it will collapse.

The reality and this is why I moved away from general software development is that the Open Source and free model is not going away. It is here to stay and there is squat anybody can do about it. Open Source killed my software revenues (consulting), Google killed my book revenues, and am I sore? No because you can either fight it, or go with the flow. I decided to go with the flow and offer very specialized knowledge. And it has worked out quite well for me.... By specialized I mean business knowledge.

Re:Free-Market Principle: Quality commands a price (3, Insightful)

awyeah (70462) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802612)

Which is precisely why I (and apparently many others) pay for access to wsj.com. It's something like $8-12/month. That's well worth it to get access to the in-depth content they provide. Sure, I browse other news sites to scan headlines, and I would probably even be willing to pay for one or two more high-quality sites.

What I will not pay for is a web site that does not provide me with original content, like sites that just aggregate the stuff of the wire, from the AP and Reuters.

I also pay for Slashdot by the way - of course most of the content other than "Ask Slashdot" is rebroadcast from other websites - but the original content here is the lively (and IMO worthwhile) discussions.

Re:Oh well (1, Interesting)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802588)

Oh well, I just won't bother reading it then

Don't worry, you weren't missing much by skipping the New York Times these days; the paper is a pale shadow of its former self. Indeed, the New York Times has moved to the left in the past 30 years while the American mainstream has remained, largely center right. No doubt, I will be modded down by the Slashdot "enlightened ones" (who tend to lean left) for bringing this up, but it is true.

Remember that only 1/3 (to be very generous) of Americans would characterize themselves as "liberal" (in the American sense of that word, not "classically liberal" as it was and is understood in Europe). If the New York Times wants to fill that niche on the left then they have to be willing to give up a substantial portion of the "national audience" and it just isn't clear that a paper as large as the New York Times can afford to do that without diminishing in ambition and quality as compared to their glory days in the decades immediately following WWII.

Finally, if the people here on Slashdot want to understand better what it is that most Americans really want, then might I suggest the following book [amazon.com] ? Even if you don't want the same sorts of things it helps to understand the values of mainstream America so that you can more effectively get at least some of what you want (when what you want lies just a bit outside the mainstream).

Not such a loss. (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802706)

Agreed. I didn't like the Times anyway so this is just the final nail in the coffin. I won't be even considering paying.

Okay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802126)

So now I'll probably never read another New York Times article.

  *heads to news.google.com*

Plenty of other newspapers still providing content for free...

Good Bye, New York Times (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802130)

You were significantly less full of crap than other newspapers. We will miss you. :'-(

Re:Good Bye, New York Times (5, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802200)

You were significantly less full of crap than other newspapers

Kevin Mitnick begs to differ.

Re:Good Bye, New York Times (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802486)

OK, I'll bite. Why? He messed with Tsutomu, and I think he broke a few laws. What did NYT do to him, seriously. And I'm no NYT since Judy Miller.

Re:Good Bye, New York Times (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802680)

You were significantly less full of crap than other newspapers

Kevin Mitnick begs to differ.

You need to get over Kevin Mitnick. The charges were overblown, but you have to understand the way people view people who go poking around in their things. Here's an illustrative story:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkkMujudDVA [youtube.com]

Kevin Mitnick's defense is essentially "I just thought it might feel nice to stick my dick in those holes and I didn't think it would hurt anybody."

Re:Good Bye, New York Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802296)

Welcome back! Sorry to hear you've been in a coma since 1985. Here's a bit of news for you now that you've woken up: the New York Times sucks now, no one is going to miss it.

Re:Good Bye, New York Times (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802304)

The only version of the Times I liked was the print version. It was good for lining bird cages and wrapping fish.

Re:Good Bye, New York Times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802470)

Being "less full of crap" isn't something to be proud of.

Holding politicians balls to the fire, even the female politicians, is something to be proud of.

Taking a stand against illegal immigration is something to be proud of.

Taking a stand against gun control is something to be proud of.

Taking a stand against diddling in third-world conflicts is something to be proud of.

This is something that the New York Times really hasn't done.

NY Times To Charge For Online Content (2, Interesting)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802166)

I dont know the details but does any one else have a macabre interest in whats going to happen to the NY times.

Re:NY Times To Charge For Online Content (1, Troll)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802606)

I'm sure I'll read about its death gasps eventually in a posting by some high quality blogger who does it for love.

In other news (2)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802176)

New York Times files for Bankruptcy..President is befuddled heard commenting why wouldn't people want tp give us their money, we're not CNN or Google News, were the New York Times!

sayonara nyt (2, Funny)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802190)

i'll miss you. then again, i'll have a lot more free time.

NY Times can do it, can your paper do it? (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802192)

The New York Times can make an effective paywall because they hold the rights to columnists that share opinions that are nationally relevant. Local NY city news is covered by other papers, so they need exclusive content like the book reviews and bestseller lists.

WSJ has business opinions. Nobody's going to pay for press releases restated, or the S&P 500 values... but reviews and opinions are still worth something.

Can your local paper do that when your local TV station has a newsroom covering the same topics and also posting to the web for free? Nope. I don't really care what's going on in local high school sports, and that's about that's exclusive to my local paper.

Re:NY Times can do it, can your paper do it? (3, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802506)

> The New York Times can make an effective paywall because they hold the rights to columnists that share opinions that are nationally relevant.

Of course they might not be all that relevant when people stop seeing their columns. Seriously, most online folk these days start at an agregator, whether that is a set of favored blogs or drudge, realclearpolitics, etc. Even if the people who create those key influencer sites subscribe to the NYT it is doubtful they will link to content behind a paywall if the past is any guide. Thus those who are contracted to write only for the NYT will, as they have already experienced in the past, see their influence decline. Good riddence to the lot of em as far as I'm concerned. Personally they end of the NYT will be a great day, this decision is a good step toward that happy event.

Re:NY Times can do it, can your paper do it? (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802678)

Bullcrap!

Yesterday we have Thomas Friedman, and today we have Meridith Whitney, and tomorrow we have [fill in the blank]. The key in this business of columnist's is to be visible. If you are not then people will flock elsewhere. Since we are talking financial, blogs like Zero Hedge, and Mish are making an impact. In the future who knows what will happen.

In the past when the WSJ was free I would in passing skip over to their sites. But now I refuse to link to them in my blogs because they wall the content relatively quick. Thus I explicitly will choose some other site...

You know who has this right, Bloomberg... Most of their stuff is available for free. They even have some kick ass apps. But yet you can buy Bloomberg 1900 USD per month and you get all of the information really fast and comprehensive. And yes I have a Bloomberg. Is Bloomberg worth it for us? Absolutely we just had to do some quick number crunching and the data was available on Bloomberg and saved our butt...

Newspapers Place in Our Society (4, Insightful)

TheGreatDonkey (779189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802194)

Newspapers provide an important role in our society, particularly the larger papers such as this, the Boston Globe, Washington Post, etc. I never appreciated this more than when I lived in Arizona several years ago and realized, not to diminish the efforts of the good folks of AZ, but the quality of material was just not quite the same. With more and more newspapers just printing press releases and less original content, this becomes of great concern, and should for everyone who lives in the US, as papers often go out on their own to investigate political corruption, businesses acting unethically, etc. For the larger newspapers, this results in things such as Watergate, etc.

I am not a big fan of paying for any online subscription, and to contradict myself I am not sure I would for this (I pay for a regular Boston Globe as my own attempt to try and keep the journalist machine going), but somehow, I still wish for them to be successful. Like their own struggles, I have no idea what the obvious answer is. If you value similar, I am not saying pay for the NYT, but I recommend finding something you are willing to put a few dollars into every month, even if its just your local Sunday paper.

Re:Newspapers Place in Our Society (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802232)

With the Boston Globe offering an "Online Edition"... people in even more rural locations that doesn't have a printing operation willing to take satellite content can have access to the same columns you do, only faster. After years of not being able to get the USA Today delivered by anybody other than my postal carrier (who BTW, will do anything to get you to drop an out-of-town newspaper subscription!) I'm a proud subscriber to the "e-Edition" version. My e-mail account still calls it spam... but it at least gets to me!

Re:Newspapers Place in Our Society (1)

MaXintosh (159753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802534)

Like I said elsewhere, it's not a question of whether we pay journalists or not. The question is who pays journalists. If Newspapers can't make an Ad driven model work for their online content, that's a problem with their business model. But it's not like people who read free online content are depriving journalists of food and rent - instead, the costs are just getting passed on to the ad agencies, who are paying for the content to be produced so they can put their "Corona Light" ads smack in the middle of things.

I don't necessarily think that high-quality content costs that much more to produce. Instead, I think NYT has a terrible business mechanism that is trapped too much 30 years ago to capitalize on emerging media.

Re:Newspapers Place in Our Society (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802756)

Instead, I think NYT has a terrible business mechanism that is trapped too much 30 years ago to capitalize on emerging media.

Probably many newspapers have a lot of people, material and space that they pay for that this digital age simply won't be able to cover the cost of. The revenue generated online simply won't cover them running a big news machine the way they are used to, so they try to hold on to an outdated model out of nostalgia and a stubborn belief that it's not them its the internet and all those damn kids.

RIP, New York Times (2, Insightful)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802196)

These days, I get all my news from either FARK [fark.com] , Slashdot [slashdot.org] , The Daily Show with Jon Stewart [thedailyshow.com] , or The Colbert Report [colbertnation.com] . So, with the New York Times going to a pay site, it just means that none of the aforementioned sites that I keep an eye on will link to them anymore, so they'll eventually die off. The same thing happened with the Wall Street Journal, too -- they're not even on my radar anymore (Thanks, Rupert!)

Re:RIP, New York Times (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802254)

These days, I get all my news from either FARK [fark.com] , Slashdot [slashdot.org] , The Daily Show with Jon Stewart [thedailyshow.com] , or The Colbert Report [colbertnation.com]

I hesitate to suggest that that's not the most balanced reading/viewing list...

Re:RIP, New York Times (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802376)

The Daily Show used to use the slogan "Where more Americans get their news than probably should." but dropped it after 9/11.

Re:RIP, New York Times (4, Insightful)

Stalyn (662) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802540)

I'm going to pay. I read the NYTimes online everyday; a habit I started more than 10 years ago. The sites/shows you have listed are really just aggregators. Someone needs to be there, hit the pavement and get the story. This article [nytimes.com] is a great example of good reporting. I think it is worth value. If I have to pay a few cents for it... so be it.

Re:RIP, New York Times (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802636)

I'm going to pay.

Unless they setup a server-side, IP based blocking system, I'm going to permakill their cookie and will never notice the difference.

Re:RIP, New York Times (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802774)

I'm going to pay. I read the NYTimes online everyday; a habit I started more than 10 years ago. The sites/shows you have listed are really just aggregators. Someone needs to be there, hit the pavement and get the story. This article [nytimes.com] is a great example of good reporting. I think it is worth value. If I have to pay a few cents for it... so be it.

The question is how many of the employees and journalists paid by the NYT are actually out there, hitting the pavement and getting the story. And how many are basically just dead weight writing bullcrap to fill space.

What are they doing to cut costs? (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802198)

I honestly don't know what they are doing to cut costs - but if they believe they are becoming a "global newspaper of record" - then maybe they ought to cut ties with New York. I'm sure doing business in NYC ain't cheap - do they really need an entire building in midtown Manhattan? I could see an office - something like what they presumably have in DC - as a place for reporters who are literally on the local beat to do officey type things. But I'm willing to bet that the business of running the paper could be done just as well from the booneys as in the middle of the big apple for a whole lot less. Sure. you'd lose some die-hard manhattanite employees, but nobody's irreplaceable - especially when the world is changing as fast as the publishing world is...

I'll probably sign up for this (4, Insightful)

Brietech (668850) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802218)

It obviously depends how much they try to charge, but I'll probably sign up for this. I really like reading the NYT (I actually live in NYC) - they provide an incredibly valuable service, which at the moment they basically give away. Realistically, though, I don't really buy the things they advertise. Half the time when I'm reading their site, it's on a computer with adblock installed so I don't even *see* the ads they have up. I was all about the "everything should be free" movement when I was a student, but now that I have a job, I don't mind compensating people for their work. Especially if the alternative is a world where the only 'news' comes from crappy bloggers that can't spell or do legitimate research.

Re:I'll probably sign up for this (2)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802346)

It will be interesting to see how much they charge, and if they continue to include ads in the paid online version. Personally, I too might pay for a top notch news site if they removed the ads and charged me about the same as a yearly subscription to a print magazine.. say $20 annually. I know that doesn't sound like much on their end, but if the point is to get customers then they have to prove that there's something special about them compared to the dozens of free news sites that will be more than happy to pick up those that aren't willing to pay. If you're going to shift the paradigm, then SHIFT the paradigm.

Re:I'll probably sign up for this (1)

MaXintosh (159753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802404)

Congrats. You're the person they're hoping to catch with their pay-for scheme. However, the big question is how many people are there out there like you who value online material from NYT enough to pay some money. And I have the sneaking suspicion that people like you are an endangered species. Most people, when they make the sub-conscious mental calculation weighing (Value of NYT - cost) against (Value of free alternative) find that it's not in their economic interest to pay for content. NYT either needs some really amazing content, or some really low prices to keep their online material competitive!

Re:I'll probably sign up for this (1)

lfd (101547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802428)

Well I also enjoy reading the NYT from time to time. But I left the US 6 years ago and I'm not gonna sign up for a paid up subscription. The occasional curiosity about what's going on in Jersey does not justify a business case.

I guess I'll have to revert to more open options like the Star-Ledger. Is USA Today still free?

Re:I'll probably sign up for this (0, Troll)

KevinIsOwn (618900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802548)

USA Today is a piece of junk newspaper that has no original insight and practically no actual reporting. It is in no way a substitute for the NYT.

Re:I'll probably sign up for this (0, Troll)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802524)

The Wall Street Journal is a great alternative with much less bias.

Re:I'll probably sign up for this (2, Insightful)

gander666 (723553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802608)

Less bias? snort. Opposite bias, yes, but not less bias.

Re:I'll probably sign up for this (1)

jayemcee (605967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802538)

Being that their actual newstand price is $2.00 up here one county north of the Bronx, I'm sure I'll get used to life without it...

Re:I'll probably sign up for this (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802554)

If you really want to donate money to a good cause, keeping alive newspapers that do actual journalism isn't the worst thing to do, but it is also far from the best. Seriously, NYT is never going away. Their worst case scenario is letting go of several of their superstar columnists. The world would barely notice.

I've heard of many people saying that they want to prop up newspapers with their own money as an act of charity. I always ask them whether they think that this is the most effective destination for their charity, or whether they think they would get more bang for their charity buck if they sent their money elsewhere. Just about everybody who thinks about it eventually says that the most deserving charity - the one that does the most good per dollar donated - is OXFAM. I tend to agree. Something seems strange about people who would use their spare resources to save newspapers rather than lives.

Redux (4, Insightful)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802228)

Didn't they try that before.
They built it and nobody came.
I didn't bother reading it until it was free.
Reading for a fee, I'll skip it again.
There is more than enough free content and they aren't producing enough interesting content.

not too suprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802240)

I can understand the problem.
Most people will read online, but at the same
time few (if any) will click on online ads to
support the sites they view.

I think a time will come when there will be no or
very few full-time journalists, they will all be
part time (the other half will be spent working a 2nd job)

Another View (-1, Redundant)

LtCol Burrito (1698596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802272)

I don't really read the NYTs, but I'll take a different view just to keep things lively. So, I know everything on the internet is supposed to be free. But...don't you think it's fair for the journalists to get paid for the work they've done? The sentiment so far has been "great, thanks NYT. I'll just go somewhere else where the news is free". That's fine, but I think eventually you will get what you pay for. So what if all the major papers switch to a paywall? Will we be left with only cheap reporting or rehashing of other's stories?

Re:Another View (1)

MaXintosh (159753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802450)

This isn't about compensating journalists or not. It's not like we're currently stealing money from hard working reporters. It's a question about what kind of business model newspapers will have for online content. Not all the free newspapers aren't operating at a loss, because they aren't really free. Instead of charging you to read content, they charge advertisers, who sell adspace in and among the articles. Either way, journalists pay their bills and get fed (they get fed birdseed, but that's a problem that predates the internet by decades). What NYT has found is they can't make the ad driven model cover all their costs, at least how they're doing it now. So, they're trying to make someone else pay for it.

Frankly, this says more about the NYT's inability to have a viable business model. And less about how cheapass the public is.

Re:Another View (2, Interesting)

malkavian (9512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802594)

Actually, I think it says in general, the public are cheapskates AND the NYT has a non-viable business model.
Still, in a world built on scientific principles, you need to make the odd experiment. NYT are about to experiment with a metered access system. If the results are worrying, then it's time to experiment with the next business model.
There'll be one of three outcomes: They find one that works again, and it's business as usual, or they'll find that there's no business model available that lets them carry on as they are at the moment, so they'll cut corners until they have a compromise that works.. Or finally nothing seems to work, and they run out of money.

Good luck with that (1, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802278)

Good luck with that. It works for the WSJ because the WSJ reports actual news; investors will not tolerate op-ed rants being passed off as news because it would make the WSJ worthless for financial analysts. The NYT (and subsidiaries like the Boston Rag, er, Globe) pass off op-eds as news and ignore stories which don't support their biases - such lack of objectivity is not something you are likely to succeed in selling online to people in business. People at home will just tune to CNN and FauxNews for their daily dose of op-eds rather than sit in front of a browser to pay for their spoon-fed propoganda.

Re:Good luck with that (2, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802320)

Good point. Propaganda should be free. No way I want to pay for that.

Re:Good luck with that (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802670)

The NYT (and subsidiaries like the Boston Rag, er, Globe) pass off op-eds as news and ignore stories which don't support their biases

What can I say? Citation needed.

I find some of the anti-journalism bias I see on this site to be a little scary. It seems like the kind of anti-intellectualism that allows our society to play right into the hands of propagandists and demagogues, and it's frankly not what I'd expect of the /. audience.

a modest suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802288)

Newspapers should edit their own stories twice, once for the hardcopy paper and pay-online and once for free on-line. Every story should be available online for free, but in cropped form. If you visit without registering or paying, you can still get substantial story, but if you want sidebars with historical context, graphs, useful links, and additional quotes and reporting, you need to log in as a paying user or buy it on the newstand. In other words, between 50 and 65 percent of the useful content should be free for all comers, the rest should be premium content.

Why should people pay them? (3, Interesting)

azgard (461476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802298)

So, if they now will be behind a paywall, while other media are free, how are they going to convince us about their objectivity? Or why should people pay them?

Re:Why should people pay them? (1, Informative)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802458)

People should pay them because they actually have real costs associated with doing business. The New York Times is hardly Joe Schmoe with his own personal blog the costs of which are more or less made up by the AdSense content over off to the side. They have hundreds of reports, photographers and editors all working the 9-5 at least, both at home and abroad, with real access to real sources because they come from a big name, real news organization. A Reporter from NYT is much more likely to score an interview with a top government or military official, or get valuable "on condition of anonymity" type information as well.

Of course, that's all before we even consider the IT infrastructure that they need, from servers to bandwidth to admins, to ensure that they can handle the amount of traffic that they get -- which is coming there because of the quality of the information that they provide.

Maybe the other media outlets which are free have comparable quality, maybe not. Most of the free news outlets, especially those which are purely an on-line thing, don't really go out of their way to hide bias or to be objective. We all know the editorial page slant of NYT, but they seem to do a reasonable job of remaining objective in the actual stories from what I've seen.

Not to rehash the old "you get what you pay for" argument that people always try to knock down around here, but a lot of the time that really is the case. Nothing in life is free -- someone is always paying, somehow. Advertisers aren't paying enough, so the people who want the content should be asked to support the infrastructure necessary to ensure that they continue to get what they want.

Re:Why should people pay them? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802590)

Advertisers aren't paying enough, so the people who want the content should be asked to support the infrastructure necessary to ensure that they continue to get what they want.

Asking them is one thing. But, uh, _why should they choose to pay_?

Bad decision (3, Funny)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802308)

Chalk this up to the same bad management decisions that got Jayson Blair [wikipedia.org] bylines in the paper. On the Internet, people seem to be largely unwilling to pay for access to content. They figure they pay their ISP already, so they should have access to whatever they want. Whether this is a valid argument or not is up for debate. But the bottom line is, if content providers like the New York Times aren't willing to offer their access to their content for free (usually via an ad-supported model), there's always a dozen other content providers that are willing to provide free access to equivalent services.

Fantastic (0, Flamebait)

tengeta (1594989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802338)

Now I'll get a warning to get away from that garbage before I accidentally read it. Thanks NY Times!

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802340)

Now I'll have to start reading FoxNews.com

Re:Great (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802472)

Watch out for culture shock. That's like leaving a freezer and jumping in boiling water.

My good friend Adblock Plus says..... (1)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802394)

That your splash screen "JOIN NOW to read the page behind me" script is easily disabled

Re:My good friend Adblock Plus says..... (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802722)

That works okay for people reading on a PC, I guess. The paywall that matters to MYT's management is the one in the iTunes Magazine Store that pushes the NYT to subscribers' iPods and iTablets.

Re:My good friend Adblock Plus says..... (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802762)

MYT means the Mu York Times, or something. (I should learn to type, or actually Preview after I click Preview.)

First (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802430)

First they came for the free news sites and I said nothing.

It's only the Americans who worry .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802438)

about the death of MSMs.

The rest of the world has been taking its news from blogs and SIGs for years now.

Is it because the Americans believe their newspapers are somehow part of their constitution? I have some news for them - written constitutions don't last more than a few hundred years before society changes so much it makes them irrelevant...

existential question (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802500)

Who would pay money to read Tom Freidman, the Mustache of Understanding?

Tell you what, though, I get the Sunday NYT delivered to my door every week. I almost quit when they stopped having a separate Books section, but I knew I'd miss the puzzles too much.

Anyway, how else would I get my subliminal liberal marching orders from Comrade Soros? I tried watching Fox News for a while but found myself gaining weight and wanting to do oxycontin. When I asked my wife to wear hairspray and librarian glasses and say "you betcha!" during sex, I knew I had to do something about it. Fortunately, there are liberal re-education camps called "libraries" where you can learn to break the Fox News habit.

After I stopped watching Fox News I lost the weight, and my wife was willing to sleep with me again, but hell, I still want to do me some of that hillbilly heroin.

How to do this right? (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802530)

The three posts I'm seeing so far all assume this will be the death knell of the Times. But the alternative if nothing changes is for the Times to piss all its money away until it closes its doors in bankruptcy. There has to be a happy medium. Somebody has to try to find it, and that's what the New York Times is doing now.

mrphoton says he'll read www.bbc.co.uk instead. That's all well and good, but the BBC is supported by British taxes, while the New York Times is a private newspaper. There's a strong tradition of separation of media and government in the U.S. and it isn't likely to ever change. But some have proposed operating newspapers as nonprofit organizations, which may be a close compromise. In that arrangement, newspapers would essentially be relying on government to leave them alone, by not charging them taxes. Where their operating expenses would come from, however, remains an open question.

To me, charging subscription fees for access to content makes a lot of sense. One of my favorite publications, The Economist, has always had a pay-wall around most of its content. And while advertising rates for magazines have been dropping across the board, subscriptions to The Economist have actually been climbing in the last few years. Why? Cynics say it's because people want to look intellectual by carrying around a copy of The Economist that they actually never read. People who subscribe to The Economist say they do so because of the marked differences between it and other, more traditional newspapers: The Economist prints zero celebrity gossip, and it never fiddles around with stories about car crashes or green gardening. It has a global focus. Its stories are well-researched, thorough, and not dumbed-down. In other words, if I'm going to pay to have someone deliver a stack of printed pages to my mailbox every week, The Economist will bring me far less wasted paper.

It's also mentioning that The Economist does not print any bylines for its articles. So to Tom Friedman's complaints, cry me a river. Do I subscribe to the New York Times because I want an informative, timely, in-depth news resource, or do I subscribe because I like to read so-called rock star columnists? Personally, I don't even read Tom Friedman's column, because his books have been massive disappointments. Talk about overrated. So should a guy like Tom Friedman be allowed to hold an entire news gathering organization hostage to his own ego? Tell you what, Tom: If you're such a public treasure, start a blog. Surely the people will flock to it. Or could it be that the only reason anybody read your column at all was because of the New York Times, and not the other way around?

The success of a subscription program for the Times' Web site will probably all depend on the price they charge for it. Certainly there will have to be opportunities to get stuff for free, as Salon.com has done. Even The Economist offers a 14-day free trial. Even then, the idea that anyone will pay even a fraction of the cost of a subscription to the New York Times just to read one or two articles a week -- or one or two articles a month -- is nuts. Somebody needs to do the hard research to figure out a realistic rate of payment for the content that people actually read. A monthly or yearly subscription fee, when nothing is showing up in the mailbox and you never remember to go and look at the site, isn't going to work.

At the same time, I worry about the concept of newspapers as a public good. Everyone, no matter their income level, is entitled to know what's going on in their government and the world at large. If newspapers close themselves off only to paying subscribers, you force the economically disadvantaged to venues such as TV news. On the one hand, local TV news has been turned over almost entirely to fluff. On the other, cable outlets like Fox News look increasingly like propaganda weapons.

So what to do? I've long thought that the way to go would be to have ISPs provide access to media outlets to their subscribers. The government could even require them to spend a certain amount of money on subscriptions to news media, as a public service.

Before you libertarians get your hackles up, consider that the U.S. government has set up sanctioned monopolies in most communities. Most customers only have one or two choices when it comes to Internet access. Many only have one. As long as we're being so gracious to these private businesses, I don't think it would be too much to ask them to fulfill some basic obligations to the society from which they benefit so greatly.

Under such an arrangement, media outlets like the New York Times could arrange special bulk rates for ISPs -- say, a few dollars a year per user, or even less. It would be worth it to them, because ISPs would be paying for their entire user bases at once. To the Internet subscriber, access to the Times Web site would be totally seamless. Click on a link and the article comes right up -- unless, of course, your ISP chose to subscribe to the Washington Post, say, instead of the New York Times. Then you would still have the option of subscribing to the Times out of your own pocket.

Would such a situation be perfect? No. The most obvious danger is that ISPs, most of which are part of giant media corporations already, would funnel their users to their own associated media outlets at the expense of others. The result would be increased media consolidation, which would be bad. One way to combat that, however, would be to outlaw it. Congress could require that some portion of the ISP's "media stipend" be spent on independent news outlets, or mandate diversity in some other way.

The other benefit is that it could encourage more competition from private ISPs. Right now, ISPs are competing on raw pipe. Comcast says it's faster than AT&T, which says it's cheaper than Comcast, and... that's about it. No wonder they don't want Net Neutrality. They stand to earn far more by holding Web media companies hostage than they do from billing the end consumer. But in a situation where a package of media subscriptions is a standard part of your Internet access -- sort of like how you buy a bundle of "premium" channels from the cable company -- independent DSL providers would be able to tailor offerings to different consumer segments by offering different bundled subscriptions. You could have packages that favor liberal media, for example, or ones that skew right, or ones that just offer access to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter for the kids.

It's still not as nice as getting everything for free, but I think we can all see that in the long term, giving media away for free on the Web is not a sustainable business model. Advertising can't pay for absolutely everything. Hopefully the New York Times has been doing some creative thinking along these and similar lines, and isn't just readying itself for an expensive disaster once the pay-wall comes down.

Re:How to do this right? (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802716)

the alternative if nothing changes is for the Times to piss all its money away until it closes its doors in bankruptcy

or perhaps consistently and copiously write articles that everyone wants to read because they are high quality ... which, oddly enough, brings back advertisers when there are lots of eyeballs

A-list columnists like ... Thomas Friedman? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802546)

Friedman is famous for his terrible writing style (see "Flathead": http://www.nypress.com/article-11419-flathead.html [nypress.com] ). He does not make any sense. In his book "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" he presents Toyota as an example of the efficiency of the free market. Nevermind that Toyota got massive subsidies from the Japanese Government for decades, which makes it an excellent example of the protectionist infant industry argument (as Ha-Joon Chang points out in his book "Bad Samaritans"). He also was a cheerleader for the war in Iraq. This guy's perception of reality is so wrong that you can basically count on the opposite of his predictions to happen. Hmm. On second thought, that makes him really valuable.

new media (paper) models (2, Insightful)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802558)

that online advertising might never grow big enough to sustain the paper's high-cost, ambitious journalis

Inside the newsroom, the protracted talks have frustrated staffers who want clarity on where the paper is headed. “It’s a real problem,” one staffer explained. “It’s embarrassing and reflects badly on the Times that they can’t make a decision. They’re fighting among themselves.”

What makes the decision so agonizing for Sulzberger is that it involves not just business considerations, but ultimately a self-assessment of just what Times journalism is worth to the world.

“At some point we gotta charge for our product.”

This sounds like a bunch of desperate people. What the news industry seams to have lost track of is that the Internet is a new medium, unlike the printing press, radio stations or tv stations it not a business that

  • needs a large amount of capital to enter
  • is a synchronous meduim

Its seems silly to ignore these differences, and I doubt a successful business can be built, with out these issues being taken into account.

Perhaps some kind of low cost strategy, such as articles being written by free lancers (who would be paid on a commission/bonus only basis). There could then be a reply service which would allow another side to the story, giving the people who read the articles the two arguments to judge for them selves. Putting all of this online and allowing people to subscribe to a topic they find of interest (and delivering a individual paper) to your own home every day/week for a fee. This will give you Google like ability to profile users (address plus billing details) along with more effective targeted adverting. Its a lot more complicated than this but its a start.

Of cause this would open up another can of worms (big media is also about control of information)

NY Times to close website (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802560)

Is what the heading should have been.

Pay for content? You are having a laugh.

The Times has its reasons for doing this... (5, Insightful)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802566)

...and I don't think it's entirely out of greed. The simple truth is that you can't pay columnists, reporters and other staff unless you have sufficient revenue. If people are abandoning the print version of the paper, and advertisers don't see the return they expect from ads, you lose a lot of per-copy revenue and ad revenue.

The truth is that the old model of "sell a paper for $1.00 a day, collect $XM in ad revenue per year, and your profit is that less your employment and other costs" is going away. Now, quality media outlets are faced with a tough choice. (Yes, I know, we can debate quality, but I happen to like the Times.) They have to choose to provide their content free, while only recouping part of their costs from ad sales, or charging for content and hoping enough people like the paper enough to pay.

I see this causing two problems:

For journalism in general: When are people going to realize that actual journalism, investigative reporting, and other well-researched pieces cost money? Call me an old fogey if you want, but I think this transition we're going through is going to make it much tougher to get well-written, well-research, less-biased content. Look at how CNN has jumped in with both feet on the whole Web 2.0/Twitter/Facebook user-generated content. Some of the well-written stuff actually makes the television news, but the vast majority of it is a garbage dump compared to a legitimate news organization. Can you imagine the historical record of the Haitian earthquake filled with stuff like "OMG OMG teh quakez suX0rz dude" ? That's overblown, but you get the idea... Same thing goes for the reporting of both sides of an issue. Would you rather have a news organization making some attempt to neutrally report, or would you rather have the Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh blogs against the ACORN and ELF blogs? Investigative reporting is even more important, and I'm not talking about papparazzi stalking celebrities. Would Watergate have ever been uncovered without a news organization paying to cover it?

For employment: I've seen this kind of rationalization of every single penny of cost happening over the last few years. Outside of journalism, it happens every day...a software developer in India is 10% the cost of a US one, or we can eliminate this raft of manual processes by automating the whole thing. Some of this is good...I'm glad I'm not a file clerk at a huge insurance company, for example. But, it has to stop somewhere. There are some people who need mundane work. Manufacturing used to provide that, now it's gone. Not everyone can be a manager, or sell things, or manage projects. If you eliminate everyone's job, especially those at the low end of the skill spectrum, you're going to have a lot of unemployed consumers who can't buy your product.

Bah... look elsewhere.... they don't have a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802642)

Anything worth reading in the NYT or any other paper, is rewritten/syndicated/copied or covered independently by someone else who does *not* have a paywall.

Good. (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802650)

Good. IMHO, the content of the NY Times is valuable and deserves to be supported. I've been looking into ways to pay for the content at the NYTimes for years. I was Times Select subscriber and was disappointed to see it go. I've tried paying for a few issues through my Nook (please excuse the gadget name drop) but I found the experience slow, difficult to navigate, and unsatisfying. I'd subscribe to the paper edition, but I really don't want to have to recycle 30lbs of paper a week. I really like the web experience and am looking forward to supporting it.

I'm sorry. (1, Troll)

phreakincool (975248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802674)

The New York Times? What's that?

Print subscriber (1)

BartlebyScrivener (903011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802676)

Well I'm the only one left taking the print edition, so I bet they give me free admission to the site.

Exposure makes their columnists superstars (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802692)

If you put their stuff behind a paywall, you severely restrict the exposure of NYT star writers. That will, in turn, severely diminish their star power. There are many other good writers waiting to take their place.

Anyone hoping to maintain a stable of opinion leaders in the internet age will have to release their stuff for free. If they live behind a paywall, that's like actors that only feature in privately-screened movies. It's no way to get a robust following!

What's worse, many of these columnists will have a twitter feed and blog, so Dowd fans will still get their fill of Dowd musings in a way that does absolutely nothing for her employer. This is basically a plan to monetize NYT assets for a while, but in the long term, it guarantees a decline in the global relevance of the NYT.

Good luck to them. (1)

No. 24601 (657888) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802702)

If they succeed, then I'm sure others (obviously not everyone) will follow. If they don't, well they will be back to square one and have even less money time to come up with a solution.

Failure 2.0 (1)

m509272 (1286764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802720)

It didn't work the first time and it won't work this time. The paper is a political rag now anyways. I used to love it for all of the other sections but when their "news" became a day-to-day political agenda that was it for me.

Smaller audience for Friedman and Dowd? (3, Interesting)

Black Sabbath (118110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802728)

Huzzah!

Seriously though, it seems that the management's earlier lesson didn't sink in too well:
http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2007/09/17/new-york-times-figures-out-the-web-its-free/ [antiwar.com]

I get the "good journalism costs money" argument. However, what this shows is that while it is possible for businesses to make money off internet advertising, the Times couldn't figure out how to do it.

While I doubt we'll ever know, my guess is that their revenue from subscription will be less than that from advertising. If their top tier talent hang around, they will bleed money until they are bought by someone with deeper pockets (who will reverse this dumb-ass decision and start some serious cost cutting). If they walk, then the value of the business will shrink making them an unlikely target. My guess is the latter. The talent will walk. An "indie" Krugman/Friedman/Dowd blog could probably earn enough advertising revenue to support them. The rest will disappear.

If that happens then there will be a REAL shakeup in the old-school media franchises.

linux is for dick smokers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30802734)

those poor fags can't even afford a real computer.
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