New ‘NY Times’ Pay Plan Cuts E-mailing of Columns

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By: E&P Staff

It will take months, if not years, to fully measure the impact and success of the new New York Times partial-pay model TimesSelect, but one thing is clear already: the once-popular user habit of e-mailing favorite opinion columns from the paper has declined rapidly.

On most days until yesterday, when TimesSelect debuted, Op-Ed columns by Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks and others dominated the ?most e-mailed? box at the Times’ Web site. A look at the paper’s Top 20 e-mailed stories from the past week finds opinion columns in the majority. This is precisely the content now behind the paid wall at the paper.

The result? Not a single such column shows up among the 5 “most e-mailed” today. The Frank Rich column dates from Sunday, when it was still ?free.?) The top 5 as of Tuesday morning were:

1. Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood
2. Frank Rich: Message: I Care About the Black Folks
3. Your Money: The 6 Percent Solution: Skip Real Estate Agents
4. Doctors Join to Promote Electronic Record Keeping
5. Almost Before We Spoke, We Swore

In what must be considered a major feat, Paul Krugman’s Monday column, while open only to TimesSelect subscribers, still managed to come in at #8. But that doesn’t mean everyone, or even many, who received the column could actually open it. The new system still allows subscribers to e-mail the column to anyone — but recipients can only read it if they, too, are members.

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