By: E&P Staff
Judging by today’s letters, The New York Times is about to embark on a rocky journey with the Sept. 19 launch of TimesSelect, its online subscription service. While the Times’s decision to put columnists like Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, David Brooks, and Nicholas Kristof behind a paid firewall has launched a bevy of complaints, let it be known that the vast majority of the content on NYTimes.com will continue to remain freely available. That said, several readers said they just don’t want to pay for content online, period.
Today, we hear from the skeptical readers, many of whom say the Times occupies “a special place both online and off as being ‘America’s newspaper of record.'” If any newspaper executives want to e-mail us to explain why news operations need to charge for content, we’ll happily reprint your arguments in this space on Thursday.
Wherein you quote John Aravosis at Americablog saying:
“If the Times’ idea catches on, this really could be the beginning of the end of the current state of Internet news.”
I say not hardly; read the blogs — the summary sheets of directed viewpoint news, world wide news pages, etc.
It is actually a good thing that the Times will begin to charge because this should wipe New York Times articles from Google search and news lists. Some very important New York Times reporting (e.g. Miller) has been shown to be fundamentally flawed and credible challenges have been lodged that the paper is fraught with a hidden agenda.
And always remember the ol’ adage: when one door shuts, another opens.
Bad News for the World of Ideas ? Bad Business Too
Well, the International Harold Tribune often has Krugman & Co. on its free sight (even later than the current New York Times one-week free window).
In the future, some “freedom-loving” newshound will put such content on a site citing fair use, a quick Google search should work to find it, but it’s going to be a headache and a fight and de facto marginalization.
I’m not sure if the move by the New York Times to charge for reader access will work. The Los Angeles Times used to charge for viewing their Calendar section (movies, entertainment, etc.) but finally relented and now offer it for free. Salon.com tried the same thing for their entire site and now basically allow free access (OK, so they let you choose between free access with ads or an ad-free subscription service). If (recent) history is anything to go by, The New York Times will realize its mistake soon; Web users just
don’t want to pay for information.
I will be greatly disappointed if Brooks, Krugman and Dowd can’t join together and protest. Don’t they realize they are merely being used? Where is their integrity? Actions speak louder than words, whether spoken or written. Those three will be read wherever they go, don’t you think? Maybe lots of New York Times subscribers can cancel their subscriptions in protest, too.
A reader sent the following letter concerning TimesSelect to The New York Times. The letter was titled “VERY DISMAYED”:
Mr. Sulzberger & Mr. Heekin-Canedy:
Today I received notification that I, along with thousands of others, will no longer be able to read important parts of the New York Times online….because we are financially limited.
Is now the NYTimes to be only a resource for those that are part of the middle- and upper-income groups? A paper for the privileged?
While I respect the NYTimes’ right to “earn” money, as a person of very limited income, I find the NYTimes decision to start charging for important parts of the NYTimes extremely selfish in that it severely limits people like me to get all the news they need to feel inform.
Previously, I subscribed to both the NYT premium crossword puzzles and the news tracker service. But I had to give them, and many other “essentials” in my life, up because of this financial crush.
It would appear now that the NYTimes only wishes to service the more affluent amongst us.
I am deeply saddened and distraught that you are taking away my access to writers that I think are important to the reflection and shaping of our nation especially at such a dire time in this country’s existence.
while there are many other sources of news online (and I go to many), the NYTimes has a special place both online and off as being “America’s newspaper of record.”
No longer will I ever feel that I am as informed as I should be.
And I shall never forget or forgive the NYTimes’ greed for denying me the news and opinion I need to be a participant American citizen.
I am so very dismayed at this loss that words fail me! I feel sick at heart.
you should also know how very difficult it is for a well-educated person, who once held positions/jobs of respect and commensurate pay, to have to admit they can no longer afford to have what she feels are essential parts of her life.
Shame on the NYTimes.
Valley Village/Los Angeles, Calif.