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New York Times launches digital subscriptions
March 17, 2011 8:29 AM   Subscribe

The New York Times launches digital subscriptions, only for Canadians at the moment and on March 28 for everyone else. Packages start at $3.75/week. Readers will be allowed 20 free articles a month sans subscription. (previously, previously)
posted by shivohum (196 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
So the paywall is here.
posted by blucevalo at 8:30 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


RIP Print.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:30 AM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Relevant to MeFi: "Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles."
posted by questionsandanchors at 8:33 AM on March 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


Now all they need to do is mail out free-trial install disks to complete the transformation into an AOL/Facebook walled garden.

Goodbye from the online conversation, NYT!
posted by DU at 8:34 AM on March 17, 2011 [17 favorites]


This is terrible. I get that the Sulzbergers have been losing sleep over people getting their content for free, but paywalls for non-financial content have never worked. I don't see what's changed in this implementation that will make it a smashing success where other very similar efforts have failed.
posted by killdevil at 8:35 AM on March 17, 2011


I for one am happy to pay for this, especially if I can get access to the crossword.

After RFTA, looks like no crossword. I'll still pay to read/support the Times though.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:35 AM on March 17, 2011


"Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles."

So who's starting the Twitter that republishes links to every single NYT article?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:35 AM on March 17, 2011 [37 favorites]


In addition to the 20 free articles a month, you can read 5 a day using Google referrals. "For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles." is what the main article says... Business Insider has an interesting article about this.

This whole business of grouping classes of visitors by which search engine or which technology base you use to get there (web browser, iPhone app, iPad app) is just stupid. Unless they do some crazy ways of enforcing the limit they really are just vague annoyances to people who know how to get around them, so it's really price discrimination against people who aren't as web-savvy. (And apparently NYTimes isn't doing the bundled discount, since pricing is $15 for web+"smartphone" or $20+ipad+chrome webstore, or ... $35 for both.)
posted by skynxnex at 8:35 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd be more dismayed at this if the one NYTimes feature I actually read regularly, FiveThirtyEight, hadn't suddenly turned into the Global NCAA Stats News Headquarters.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:37 AM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's referer (sic) spoofing time!

Actually, I'll probably end up paying for this. The NYT iPhone app is very, very good.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:38 AM on March 17, 2011


I get that the Sulzbergers have been losing sleep over people getting their content for free, but paywalls for non-financial content have never worked. I don't see what's changed in this implementation that will make it a smashing success where other very similar efforts have failed.

If it's worked for the Financial Times and the WSJ, why wouldn't it work for the NYT? I'm not being snarky -- it's a genuine question. Has there been any appreciable dropoff in those two papers' readership? (I know that the Times of London experienced a severe dropoff when they went behind a digital castle keep, but Murdoch and Co. claim that they've more than made up for it in paid subscriptions.)
posted by blucevalo at 8:40 AM on March 17, 2011


Google news: source:new_york_times
posted by swift at 8:41 AM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


This whole business of grouping classes of visitors by which search engine or which technology base you use to get there (web browser, iPhone app, iPad app) is just stupid.

I'm starting a service that lets you read an NYT article from anywhere by remotely controlling a guy clicking on a web browser.
posted by DU at 8:41 AM on March 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


Predictable responses so far. It's disappointing but hardly surprising given the state of print. However comments such as "Goodbye from the online conversation, NYT!" strike me as both overwrought and most likely inaccurate. I will gladly pay for the NYT if it means it survives as a journalistic entity and I don't have to get my news from TPM, DailyKos, or the Huffington Post.
posted by proj at 8:41 AM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm in Canada and subscribe to the Sunday New York Times. According to today's bumf, I thus qualify for a no-cost laissez-passez past the digital paywall. Unfortunately, as the Sunday NYT is technically sold by a Canadian newspaper, I'm not recognized by the NYT as a subscriber. Boo-urns.
posted by docgonzo at 8:43 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will gladly pay for the NYT if it means it survives as a journalistic entity...

Waaaay too late for that.
posted by DU at 8:44 AM on March 17, 2011 [10 favorites]


However comments such as "Goodbye from the online conversation, NYT!" strike me as both overwrought and most likely inaccurate.

Agreed. The cited statement might only be a realistic conclusion if anywhere near a substantial proportion of online conversants read more than 20 articles/month.
posted by docgonzo at 8:45 AM on March 17, 2011


$35/month for access to nytimes.com plus iPhone and iPad access. For comparison, daily home delivery to my Midwest location would be $60/month. But the online edition doesn't include everything the print edition does, such as the crossword ($2/month via the crossword app, I believe), so let's call it $37/month versus $60.

By contrast, a digital subscription to the Economist is $9.17/month, compared to $37/month for the print edition. Thus, the Economist digital discount is ~75% compared to ~38% for the Times.

I think I might pay $20/month for full access across devices, but $37/month is just too steep.
posted by jedicus at 8:45 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The NYT iPhone app is the most crash phone app on my iPhone. Which is remarkable since all it does is format text and images on the screen. I just checked and there's no update available. So if you can live with the bugs and never update it, you can keep reading the Times for free.
posted by monospace at 8:45 AM on March 17, 2011


I'm a little bummed about this, but I think the model of everything free and open all the time was kind of unrealistic all along, or at least without the ad revenues to support it.
posted by Forktine at 8:45 AM on March 17, 2011


If your business model depends on overly complicated segmentation of your customers in a way that can be easily gamed, your business model is going to fail.

I put the over/under on the Times taking the pay wall back down at 18 months.
posted by FfejL at 8:46 AM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I will gladly pay for the NYT if it means it survives as a journalistic entity

I will gladly not miss those exploding banner ads on the front page. Oh wait.
posted by swift at 8:46 AM on March 17, 2011


The NYT might as well be hidden behind a paywall already, as far as I'm concerned, since I kind of slowly stopped bothering with bugmenot over the last few years.

Sometimes the article comes up, sometimes it doesn't, and when it doesn't I just close the tab, like I would for any other article that didn't come up for some reason, and you know what? The web is still pretty damn interesting.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:47 AM on March 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


I will gladly pay for the NYT if it means it survives as a journalistic entity...

Waaaay too late for that.


Really? Last I checked, the NYT was among the few papers still producing serious, original reportage.
posted by docgonzo at 8:47 AM on March 17, 2011 [19 favorites]


Last I checked, the NYT was among the few papers still producing serious, original reportage

Their online edition is embarrassingly riddled with more typos than a youtube comments section, though.
posted by elizardbits at 8:50 AM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


docgonzo: You'll also qualify for free digital access if your home delivery is provided by a third party (rather than by The New York Times directly).
posted by nicwolff at 8:54 AM on March 17, 2011


Really? Last I checked, the NYT was among the few papers still producing serious, original reportage.

...on topics like Saddam's weapons program.

Fuck that rag and its pro-Imperialism slant. What's the point of serious, original reportage if it's not objective?
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:54 AM on March 17, 2011 [7 favorites]




A popular position here is that it is a hack paper with corrupt journos (Judith Miller) and is complicit in the maintenance of the status quo (Julian Assange Smear Piece!). Blogs! Twitter! Citizen Journalism 2.0!

Seriously, though, I have yet to see an American paper that produces quality journalism like the NYT. The segment of online users that feel that is irrelevant vastly overestimate their representation within the overall population.

posted by proj at 8:54 AM on March 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


If it's worked for the Financial Times and the WSJ, why wouldn't it work for the NYT? I'm not being snarky -- it's a genuine question. Has there been any appreciable dropoff in those two papers' readership? (I know that the Times of London experienced a severe dropoff when they went behind a digital castle keep, but Murdoch and Co. claim that they've more than made up for it in paid subscriptions.)

Correct or not, the NY Times content is (I think) perceived as more fungible than WSJ or FT - I happily pay the outrageous amount for the WSJ online subscription, because I either can't find the same content elsewhere or I just can't imagine spending that much time trying to find it. I won't pay for the NYT, because I rarely find something on there that I can't find a good substitute for elsewhere.

And this subscription model is insane.
posted by mrs. taters at 8:55 AM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Excellent timing of those two posts.
posted by proj at 8:55 AM on March 17, 2011


The segment of online users that feel that is irrelevant vastly overestimate their representation within the overall population.

I don't think the people you're criticizing believe the Times is "irrelevant" so much as "using its immense clout poorly."
posted by theodolite at 8:57 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK. I have reached my limit and I don't intend to pay. Yet.
I have been registered to nytimes .com since 2000, I visit it 3 times a day and am a fan of their slideshows.

Please note that reading Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.'s A Letter to Our Readers About Digital Subscriptions counts as one article.

Strangely, accessing nytimes.com with another browser where I am not registered doesn't seem to start a countdown.
posted by bru at 8:59 AM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the segmentation weirdness, but I honestly, I would pay for NYT. I will pay for top notch investigative journalism SOMEWHERE that isn't as beholden to a corporate overload as, say, Faux News is.

If you are disdainful of paying for investigative journalism or journalism in general, disdainful of getting articles with typos because editing staff is getting cut to the bone, WHAT IS YOUR IDEA FOR THE ALTERNATIVE? Seriously. I'm really curious.

In the meantime, I will pony up money for good news. The real shame of it is lack of access becoming even more of an issue for people who can't afford to pay for quality news and analysis. You used to be able to go to the library and sit and read the periodicals (that happened all of the time when I was growing up. Grandpa couldn't afford The Times? He sat and read it on Thursday evening after work, or on Saturday mornings.) Now, libraries hours of operation are getting cut dramatically because of budget reasons here in Chicago. Some aren't open very long after traditional working hours. Or, you'd get a print edition and pass it around to your neighbors. Many in the lower socioeconomic classes don't even have access to the internet at home still. Where is the other 80% going to get their access?

Health care for the elite? Check. Quality education for the elite? Check. Information and news for the elite? Check. This dismantling of everything that keeps the playing field level in a fully-functioning democracy is getting to be alarming, and that is coming from someone who can well afford health care, quality education, and paying for a monthly subscription to the NYT.
posted by jeanmari at 9:01 AM on March 17, 2011 [15 favorites]


If it's worked for the Financial Times and the WSJ, why wouldn't it work for the NYT?

Employers pay for the FT and the WSJ, simple as that.
posted by geoff. at 9:02 AM on March 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


Why do they think the iPad app alone, with the same content, is worth such a huge amount more per month? That seems like a real misfire to me. For the same price per month, a well-designed dedicated reader is nice — but this is just an idiot tax pushing sane tablet readers back to the browser.
posted by RogerB at 9:02 AM on March 17, 2011


This will be something to watch. It's too early to say if this will kill online interest in the NYT or if it will represent some kind of sea change in content delivery for established and reputable (earned or not) news organizations. I'm not sure that whiny generalizations about this are particularly useful and certainly aren't interesting.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:02 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Repulsive timing. Poor people shouldn't have access to information during a global nuclear emergency, eh? Classy move, NYT.
posted by xowie at 9:03 AM on March 17, 2011


Why do they think the iPad app alone, with the same content, is worth such a huge amount more per month?

Because the real cost of a newspaper is not the newsprint and ink, but the salaries and expenses of maintaining their staff? Which won't change much in a switch to digital? Just a possibility.
posted by jeanmari at 9:04 AM on March 17, 2011


> Poor people shouldn't have access to information during a global nuclear emergency, eh? Classy move, NYT.

That can't be a serious comment, can it? Local news sites and TV replay such stories ad infinitum.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:05 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


We get a free subscription because we already get the print edition. Go old fogeys!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:06 AM on March 17, 2011


I'm not a fan of the segmentation weirdness, but I honestly, I would pay for NYT. I will pay for top notch investigative journalism SOMEWHERE that isn't as beholden to a corporate overload as, say, Faux News is.

If you are disdainful of paying for investigative journalism or journalism in general, disdainful of getting articles with typos because editing staff is getting cut to the bone, WHAT IS YOUR IDEA FOR THE ALTERNATIVE? Seriously. I'm really curious.


You think the New York Times isn't beholden to corporations? You're kidding yourself.

Any paper that pretends to be objective is doomed to failure if they intend to survive on subscriptions. 'Objectivity' and 'fairness' is just bullshit that news organizations sell to advertisers. Readers don't actually want it.

Give me a paper that is biased towards my interests, that actually fights for me, rather than against me, and I'll happily pay them to report news.
posted by empath at 9:06 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Give me a paper that is biased towards my interests, that actually fights for me, rather than against me, and I'll happily pay them to report news.

I'm not kidding when I say reading this actually makes me sad.
posted by proj at 9:08 AM on March 17, 2011 [17 favorites]


Because the real cost of a newspaper is not the newsprint and ink, but the salaries and expenses of maintaining their staff? Which won't change much in a switch to digital?

How does providing content to a dedicated reader app cost more in salary than providing content to a Web site? Do you have to pay reporters more if they're writing for iPads?
posted by RogerB at 9:08 AM on March 17, 2011


I consider the people at ProPublica to be the among the best investigative and long-form journalists working today. Their reporting on police actions during Katrina, pharma kickbacks to doctors, and accessible explanations of the mortgage crisis have impressed me.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 9:09 AM on March 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


I happily subscribed to the weekday print edition of the New York Times, I read it on my iPad, on my desktop via their Times Reader, on my iPod Touch every once in a while, and I like sharing and discussing their articles with my family.

Giving the news away in this way was never a sustainable model. It was a big mistake that they couldn't afford.

Paywalls can work. I hope other news organizations are as successful.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:09 AM on March 17, 2011


You think the New York Times isn't beholden to corporations? You're kidding yourself.

I'm not kidding myself, I know that they is corporate influence everywhere. But I have more faith in NYT's editors trying to get it right than I do in the producers of Fox News.
posted by jeanmari at 9:10 AM on March 17, 2011


ZNet is a nice lefty news aggregator that "fights" for you, kind of. They also always ask for money.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:10 AM on March 17, 2011


Give me a paper that is biased towards my interests, that actually fights for me, rather than against me, and I'll happily pay them to report news.

Also feeling depressed when I read answers like this. Only paying for content that we agree with?
posted by jeanmari at 9:12 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd be more dismayed at this if the one NYTimes feature I actually read regularly, FiveThirtyEight, hadn't suddenly turned into the Global NCAA Stats News Headquarters.

Nate has always done sports stuff when there aren't a lot of numbers out there on the political side. We're twenty months out, the polls aren't super informative right now.
posted by spaltavian at 9:12 AM on March 17, 2011


I'm not kidding when I say reading this actually makes me sad.

Why should I pay the New York Times to print Judith Miller's bullshit? And fake reporting that's basically a transcription of what government sources want people to hear?

Every once in a while they might accidentally commit some real journalism, but their abject failure to report the truth in the lead up to the Iraq war forever delegitimized them for me.
posted by empath at 9:13 AM on March 17, 2011 [15 favorites]


Also feeling depressed when I read answers like this. Only paying for content that we agree with?

Yes, I'll only pay for reporting that advances my interests. There are enough wealthy and powerful people buying reporting that advances theirs. I don't feel like I need to help.
posted by empath at 9:14 AM on March 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Comparing the "Most Emailed" to the "Most Blogged" lists on the NYT site is always interesting. The "Most Emailed" articles are almost always:

1. Brooks or Krugman opinion columns
2. Health articles (this week, it's "owning a dog helps you lose weight!")
3. Fake trend articles based on interviewing two people in Brooklyn

with the rare piece of real news sneaking through.

The "Most Blogged," on the other hand, are almost always substantial articles, I suppose because "blogged" means that people are linking to NYT as the standard article on whatever topic they're about to give their opinion on.

I wonder what's going to change based on this new pay policy -- I suspect the "Most Emailed" list will stay about the same, while the people who use NYT articles as their default for Serious News will move elsewhere.
posted by theodolite at 9:16 AM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


How does providing content to a dedicated reader app cost more in salary than providing content to a Web site? Do you have to pay reporters more if they're writing for iPads?

I would pay $60/month for daily home delivery in Chicago, and $35/month for daily home delivery on my iPad (add $2 if I wanted the crossword, but I don't.)

How is that paying MORE for online access?
posted by jeanmari at 9:16 AM on March 17, 2011


How is that paying MORE for online access?

I think RogerB is referring to the fact that the iPad edition costs more (per month! not just for the app!) than the iPhone or regular digital edition. Which, I agree, is weird.
posted by theodolite at 9:17 AM on March 17, 2011


What happens to the RSS feeds like Krugman and 538? Cut off on the 28th?
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:22 AM on March 17, 2011


Every once in a while they might accidentally commit some real journalism, but their abject failure to report the truth in the lead up to the Iraq war forever delegitimized them for me.

.
posted by mikelieman at 9:22 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey haters of paying for things, here's something for you to think about:

Without income, the New York Times can't afford to pay its staff. Without staff, the New York Times can't afford to report journalism. So unless you want a 14-year-old's little blog giving you the latest information about the issues in their hometown, someone has to pay the journalists.

For what it's worth, I find their new approach rather reasonable in contrast to their earlier attempt at a pay wall.

TLDR: Cough up a buck, you cheap bastard(s).
posted by cavalier at 9:27 AM on March 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, count me in with empath as people who won't miss the New York Times for its reporting. I can find better and more honest reporting from any major European paper, without having to wonder if the story has been placed by the Pentagon or trying to decipher through 2 levels of "senior officials say" and "sources say" bullshit.

It's just sad that the NYT has gobbled up several of my favorite bloggers recently, presumably as a desperate attempt to reestablish themselves as a credible news source.

These days you can't trust the name on the masthead. You have to look at the byline and decide whether that reporter has earned any credibility or not.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:28 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Without income, the New York Times can't afford to pay its staff. Without staff, the New York Times can't afford to report journalism.

Blah, blah napster, mp3s, RIAA, MPAA. Same fucking story. Dying business model sells doom and gloom to guilt people into supporting a failing and inefficient system. I'm sure they'll be asking for government subsidies soon enough.
posted by empath at 9:31 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


These days you can't trust the name on the masthead. You have to look at the byline and decide whether that reporter has earned any credibility or not.

To be fair, there have been more times in history where this statement has been true than not true.
posted by jeanmari at 9:31 AM on March 17, 2011


Hmm, wonder if I'll be able to read through my university's proxy server. I guess it really depends on if they decide it is worth paying for.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:34 AM on March 17, 2011


To be fair, there have been more times in history where this statement has been true than not true.

And if the New York Times dies, the good reporters will do just fine trading on their own reputation rather than a newspapers. Lots of reporters have left major newspapers to do their own thing (politico, the daily beast, etc), and more of them will continue to do it.
posted by empath at 9:34 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Give me a paper that is biased towards my interests, that actually fights for me, rather than against me, and I'll happily pay them to report news.

I'm not kidding when I say reading this actually makes me sad sick.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:34 AM on March 17, 2011


spaltavian: "Nate has always done sports stuff when there aren't a lot of numbers out there on the political side. We're twenty months out, the polls aren't super informative right now."

If that were the case, I'd totally understand. But: Libya? Japan? Wisconsin? The budget battle? The first stirrings of the 2012 GOP primary? There's no shortage of more important material to cover right now than basketball brackets.

And it would be one thing if it were just one or two stories. But six of the last seven FiveThirtyEight articles have been NCAA-related, and the associated Twitter feed has featured almost nothing but basketball talk for the last week or two.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:37 AM on March 17, 2011


If that were the case, I'd totally understand. But: Libya? Japan? Wisconsin? The budget battle? The first stirrings of the 2012 GOP primary? There's no shortage of more important material to cover right now than basketball brackets.

He covers polls. If there aren't any polls to cover, he has nothing to write about.
posted by empath at 9:39 AM on March 17, 2011


I would happily pay for the NYT - I pay for other content (The Economist, for example). But $15/mo plus more for mobile is just way, way too much. The NYT isn't that unique. Their content is quality, IMO, but it is just general news. I can get it a thousand other places.

Massive, massive mistake with the pricing.
posted by alaijmw at 9:40 AM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I do hope they figure out some formula to keep the Times sustainable, some interesting anecdotes from my perspective:
  • I bought the print version of the Sunday times last week to read about the crisis in Japan. It's been a looong time since I did this and suffered sticker shock when I shelled out $6. This is the Northeast editon, in NYC I guess it's still $5. Still . . . damn!
  • The interactive department at the Times has been knocking it out of the park recently. I see no other place online that offers such well crafted and useful web based charts and examples of data visualization, (Examples 1, 2 and 3).
These two data points seem like opposite ends of the spectrum: it's hard to see how the print model can be sustainable at that level of expense but I hope they can figure out how to keep paying those amazing ui and development folks.
posted by jeremias at 9:41 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If that were the case, I'd totally understand. But: Libya? Japan? Wisconsin? The budget battle? The first stirrings of the 2012 GOP primary? There's no shortage of more important material to cover right now than basketball brackets.

You do realize he was a sports stats geek for many years before he started writing about elections, right?
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:41 AM on March 17, 2011


I agree with jeremias that a lot of the NYT's new-media contact is fantastic -- these maps posted on the blue a couple months ago were especially impressive. I'm not sure how these fit into the pay scheme, though.
posted by theodolite at 9:43 AM on March 17, 2011


That this thread has turned to criticism of Nate Silver makes me realize that Mefi is no refuge from kneejerk idiocy.
posted by found missing at 9:45 AM on March 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I already pay $100/year for the print version of the New York Times Book Review (once a week). Now they want me to pay another $130 for web access. $230/year to the Times seems ridiculous, and I'm not even getting the print copy.
posted by stbalbach at 9:45 AM on March 17, 2011


I get the idea of the paywall but don't get the idea of segmenting the content by device. Unless there's actually different and distinct content available on each device rather than different formatting. It sort of reminds me how ATT and Verizon charge for tethering data that you're already paying for.

It is sort of sneaky how some things like article counts are done by month, but the billing is by 4 weeks periods giving them an 13 billing periods a year versus 12.

Although I paid for Times Select and saw this coming, I'm just not reading the Times like I used to and may fall within the free period. So I'll decide if I bump against the paywall and get asked to pay. I'd think a $12.95/mth for whatever device you want subscription, billed in 12 installments would be easier to tolerate. But we'll see.

I think we'll also see a whole cottage industry of apps/hacks to get around the limitations spring up that will make bugmenot look amateur.

For better or worse, the NYT is the country's preeminent newspaper. This could be a chance for another paper (but who? USA Today, LA Times, WaPo?) to rise above. But I doubt it since other papers have been waiting for the old gray lady to make this move so they can draft it into the paywalls everywhere future.
posted by birdherder at 9:46 AM on March 17, 2011


And if the New York Times dies, the good reporters will do just fine trading on their own reputation rather than a newspapers. Lots of reporters have left major newspapers to do their own thing (politico, the daily beast, etc), and more of them will continue to do it.

God help us if the Daily Beast, Politico, and their ilk are the alternatives to the NYT.
posted by proj at 9:47 AM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Blah, blah napster, mp3s, RIAA, MPAA. Same fucking story. Dying business model sells doom and gloom to guilt people into supporting a failing and inefficient system. I'm sure they'll be asking for government subsidies soon enough.

Huh. Maybe we're not going to reach an understanding here, but I'll try. I appreciate that you can link the two because they both rely on historic business models that need to adapt to changing times. But I think this shows that the Times is certainly attempting to still provide you their product in the new media at a reasonable fee, where as the recording industry et al blindly and stubbornly continue to seek to limit new media as much as possible.

I'll certainly agree with you that it is wholly unreasonable to expect that an album recorded 30 years ago still requires a high price point to recoup on its "investment." But I would counter that in order to pay for someone covering up-to-the-minute developments in, say, Libya, that you would need fresh capital coming in in order to make those payments.

Yes, print is dying, if not already dead. But important question to ask yourself is – if no one pays the newspaper reporters, where are you getting your news from?

It's a few years old, but I highly recommend PBS Frontline special "News War", if anyone has not seen it. It certainly approaches the issues facing the journalism industry right now – namely, who's going to pay for the reporting?
posted by cavalier at 9:50 AM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Metafilter replaced the NYT as my startpage two years ago. I've noticed that pretty much anything important enough to warrant my attention ends up here. Maybe not always the same for the NYT.
posted by bboyberlin at 9:51 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the bright side, as a Canadian I can just ignore this and continue reading the Globe and Mail, which is nothing but NYT and Reuters reprints anyhow, and the Toronto Star, which is actually worth reading.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:53 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Four MeFi reporters are missing in Libya as of today. Or, is that NYT reporters?
posted by found missing at 9:54 AM on March 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


Only paying for content that we agree with?

So all you guys who think we should pay for the NYT out of some kind of misguided sense of fair play all pay for subscriptions to the Glenn Beck newsletter for the same reason, right? Come the fuck on.

I pay for plenty of media. I love paying for media. I would pay for actual human shit before I would shell out one dime to the NYT and Bill fucking Keller, fluffer to the neoliberal political class.
posted by enn at 9:55 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter replaced the NYT as my startpage two years ago. I've noticed that pretty much anything important enough to warrant my attention ends up here. Maybe not always the same for the NYT.
posted by bboyberlin at 9:51 AM on March 17 [+] [!]


And, many of these posts are from original journalism in outlets like the NYT.
posted by proj at 9:55 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I pay for plenty of media. I love paying for media. I would pay for actual human shit before I would shell out one dime to the NYT and Bill fucking Keller, fluffer to the neoliberal political class.
posted by enn at 9:55 AM on March 17 [+] [!]


And...... rational dialogue is now out the window.
posted by proj at 9:56 AM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are plenty of things I don't like about the NYT, but if I ditch it as my national news RSS feed, I'm wondering what should replace it. The Washington Post is worse, and the cable news nets worse than that. I like the Christian Science Monitor for backgrounders, again with an awareness of its biases, but I'm not sure it can replace what I get from the NYT on a daily basis.

But I'm a cheap bastard and I wouldn't shell out the extra for the iPad app even if I had an iPad.
posted by immlass at 9:57 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Give me a paper that is biased towards my interests, that actually fights for me, rather than against me, and I'll happily pay them to report news.

If you want some hard liberal news, you can't do better than subscribing to the Hightower Lowdown and Extra! from Fair. A year of the Lowdown costs less than a month of NYT and it actually covers union disputes from the side of the unions.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:57 AM on March 17, 2011


I agree with what you're saying proj, but there are many more sources of news than the NYT. i think other news sources will keep me aware of whats going on, as well as through MeFi.

This is a boon to other news sources, what the NYT is planning. I'm not saying I am against paying for journalism, but definitely not the NYT.
posted by bboyberlin at 10:00 AM on March 17, 2011


empath: "He covers polls. If there aren't any polls to cover, he has nothing to write about."

Well, not exactly. He's done historicala analysis in the past, profiles of prospective candidates, and has brought in co-writers like Renard Sexton to tackle foreign affairs (even after the move to New York). It's not strictly poll-driven.

T.D. Strange: "You do realize he was a sports stats geek for many years before he started writing about elections, right?"

Yeah; he developed PECOTA and derived his electoral fu from his experience crunching baseball stats. But his NYT blog is explicitly about politics -- it's not unreasonable to expect it to focus on that.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:03 AM on March 17, 2011


This could be a chance for another paper (but who? USA Today, LA Times, WaPo?) to rise above.

Honestly, my money's on Al Jazeera. They'll need some rebranding though... let me think.

Al Jazournal and Wizzorld Report? Too Snoop.
Al Swearingen? Too hoopleheaded cocksucker.
El Jazeera? Too Mexican except in Chicago. As a child, it took me years to parse why "The El Train" isn't stupidly redundant.
Al Jaz-tea party express-eera. I like it, but who wants to clean up after all the heads explode.
Al Cool-jazzeera and Soft Rock Hits All The Time? Too dental.
Al Jee-Funk-Eera? Too soon. RIP Nate Dogg.
The Wall Street Journal? No, that's already a joke.

Marketing is hard.
posted by stet at 10:03 AM on March 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


But I'm a cheap bastard and I wouldn't shell out the extra for the iPad app even if I had an iPad.

That's the part that I don't get $65 more a year to get the same content on a tablet, you've already paid $195/yr to get on a computer/iphone. Since you can read the same content on an iPad with Safari (sans flash content) for the base $15/4wks, why more. But what is most confounding is how they want $35/4wk to access the same content on the site/smartphone and tablet at the same time. That makes no sense! Most people only read one device at a time.
posted by birdherder at 10:05 AM on March 17, 2011


And I think it's perfectly rational to prefer spending money on something useless to giving it to bad people who will use it to hurt people and make the world worse. I am a little baffled by your contention otherwise. I repeat my earlier question—do those of you who believe that we should pay for the Times out of a desire to see all viewpoints represented, even if we think the Times is selling a destructive viewpoint, back that up by paying for media selling viewpoints that you find repugnant?
posted by enn at 10:08 AM on March 17, 2011


Goddamn why is this a flamewar?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:10 AM on March 17, 2011


Four MeFi reporters are missing in Libya as of today. Or, is that NYT reporters?
posted by found missing at 12:54 PM on March 17


Ah, irony...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:10 AM on March 17, 2011


empath: " Give me a paper that is biased towards my interests, that actually fights for me, rather than against me, and I'll happily pay them to report news."

From Earth, by David Brin:
"Good morning, Professor Wolling. During the last twenty-four hours there have been three priority-nine world news items, two regional alerts for Britain, and four on general topics from Reuters, your chosen neutral-bias news agency. None of the alerts were in categories listed by you as critical."

Citizens had to subscribe to a minimum news-input or lose the vote. Still, Jen was anything but a public events junkie, so her nine-or-greater threshold was set as high as allowed. She’d scan the headlines later.

"You have received six letters and thirty five-message blips from individuals on your auto-accept list. Sixty-five more letters and one hundred and twelve blips entered your general delivery box on the Net.

"In addition, there were four hundred and thirteen references to you, in yesterday’s scientific journals. Finally, in popular media and open discussion boards, your name was brought up with level seven or greater relevance fourteen hundred and eleven times."

It was clearly another case of human profligacy–this typical turning of a good thing into yet another excuse for overindulgence. Like the way nations suffering from greenhouse heat still spilled more than five billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year. A prodigious yield that was nevertheless nothing compared to the species’ greatest harvest–words.

And to think, some idiots predicted that we’d someday found our economy on information. That we ‘d base money on it!

On information? The problem isn’t scarcity. There’s too damned much of it!

The problem usually wasn’t getting access to information. It was to stave off drowning in it.

People bought personalized filter programs to skim a few droplets from that sea and keep the rest out. For some, subjective reality became the selected entertainments and special-interest zines passed through by those tailored shells.

Here a man watches nothing but detective films from the days of cops and robbers–a limitless supply of formula fiction. Next door a woman hears and reads only opinions that match her own, because other points of view are culled by her loyal guardian software.

To avoid such staleness, Jen had hired a famous rogue hacker, Sri Ramanujan, to design her own filter. "Let’s see what happens to that list,” she said aloud, “when we use threshold seven, categories one through twenty."

"And the surprise factor, Professor Wolling?"

Jen felt in a good mood. "Let’s go with twenty percent."

That meant one in five files would pop up randomly, in defiance of her own parameters. This way she asked Ramanujan to unleash purposely on her a little of the chaos his devilish virus-symbiont had once wreaked on thirteen million Net subscribers in South Asia–jiggling their complacent cyberworlds to show them glimpses of different realities, different points of view.
Human nature often leads us to listen only to agreeable viewpoints. One of the hallmarks of intelligence, in my opinion, is learning to listen to and assess views we disagree with. I'm not saying we should pay for them. But complaining about them while supporting an equally-biased opponent seems a bit weird to me.
posted by zarq at 10:12 AM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


So unless you want a 14-year-old's little blog giving you the latest information about the issues in their hometown, someone has to pay the journalists.

I hadn't realized those were the only two choices. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Which gives me a good opportunity to link to Jay Rosen's deconstruction of the hysterical (in both senses) rhetoric journalists use to talk about bloggers.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:15 AM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The biggest problem with the paywall is that it forces people to think about the paywall when what they really want to do is read an article.

They have to remember whether they're logged in, whether their device supports the NYTimes site / login / etc, whether they're looking at an article on their home computer or work computer or whether they want to walk over to someone's desk to show them an article.

Then there's the issues with external apps. Will Instapaper still be able to save NYTimes articles? What about the Instapaper clone I just built that NYTimes.com doesn't know about?

I just want to read the goddamn news and I'm sorry your business model is forcing you to make it hard for me to do that, but this change is stupid and I can't wait to see how long it will take for them to take it down.
posted by ged at 10:15 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I get the idea of the paywall but don't get the idea of segmenting the content by device."

I'm going to try not to get into this thread too much since my contract with The Times is only recently up (I authored the first draft of /digitalfaq), but there's a simple explanation for this one. The mobile apps are not designed for the metering of content, and can't be updated the way the website is (basically, with a few cookies). They'd have to be redesigned from the ground level up, which is expensive and time-consuming, not to mention the fact that some of the apps were developed externally. It's far easier to shutter the sections (originally, there were supposed to be four sections for free).
posted by Eideteker at 10:16 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's what I sent them:

It's good that this came right after your attack on bicycle paths, to remind me of what you truly stand for. Actually, I hadn't ever forgotten how your "paper of record" endlessly beat the drum for the Iraq war by posting untruths, obvious untruths that you were later forced to print rebuttals for (far too late, on the inner pages).

Let me go on record as saying it'll be a cold day in Hell when I pay a single penny for your newspaper again. I haven't bought your rag nor clicked on a single ad since the start of the Iraq War, and now I have an incentive to not even read the articles.

With great disdain,

[real name here]
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:19 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm going to try not to get into this thread too much since my contract with The Times is only recently up (I authored the first draft of /digitalfaq), but there's a simple explanation for this one. The mobile apps are not designed for the metering of content, and can't be updated the way the website is (basically, with a few cookies). They'd have to be redesigned from the ground level up, which is expensive and time-consuming, not to mention the fact that some of the apps were developed externally. It's far easier to shutter the sections (originally, there were supposed to be four sections for free).

So the Times is forcing people to pay for its own lack of interest in rewriting their mobile apps? Good to know.
posted by theodolite at 10:19 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the frustration here is caused by the cognitive dissonance resulting from treating the NYT as anything more than the Weekly World News with a drier tone...

The real question is, given that the NYT is useless in the context of journalism, is there any entertainment value to be derived from it?
posted by mikelieman at 10:21 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


*deletes nytimes.com from bookmark bar, adds guardian.co.uk to bookmark bar*

OK. That's that sorted, then.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:22 AM on March 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


That's a great link, Horace, thank you!

I fully admit to exaggerating the consequence, but I stand by the belief that without major originators of media – – we do not (yet?) have a blogging culture so firmly entrenched and representative across the world as to expect the same level of service. I believe in the concept of self-publishing, but I do not believe that self journalism is yet at a comparable scale to compete with traditional media at a level of, say, the New York Times. Not even close. There are obvious juggernauts of niche media, to be sure, but not yet a complete replacement for general media.

And yes, I know the Times has had some missteps over the years. Some rhyme with Prudith Ziller.
posted by cavalier at 10:23 AM on March 17, 2011


theodolite: I don't think there was time to rewrite all of the apps from the ground-level up. Also, it's easier to roll back this change than a full app redesign. Just a hunch; I'm no longer privy to business decisions.
posted by Eideteker at 10:24 AM on March 17, 2011


I don't mind the principle of paying for content, though I think the plans they've created are a poor choice, especially dividing the content between devices.

What I'm most concerned about is how this will limit my ability to regularly share interesting articles with friends -- I understand it's still "free" if you do it through facebook or something, but I tend just email people the articles by cutting and pasting the URL's, and of course many people (my parents, for instance) don't use social networking... I fear this will cut down on this sharing, because people may already be over their 20 article limit for the month, or may not want to click it for fear of going over, etc...

They need a better way of ensuring content can still be shared easily.
posted by modernnomad at 10:25 AM on March 17, 2011


lupus_yonderboy, I'm sure a paragraph that essentially says "I don't want to pay for your content because we disagreed over whether going to war in Iraq approximately a decade ago was a good idea" will convince them to change course. Well done.
posted by modernnomad at 10:27 AM on March 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


What I'm most concerned about is how this will limit my ability to regularly share interesting articles with friends

Yes, that is the fundamental flaw with these weird limited/segmented paywalls, and we've seen problems here when people have made posts linking to newspapers which have already implemented such paywalls—the link works for some people but not others, and no one is ever really sure why, and people just start to get irritated.

I really wish these sites would at least put some kind of notice up: "Warning — if you send someone a link to this page, they might not be able to see it without paying money." It's frustrating when you don't know if it's safe or not.
posted by enn at 10:29 AM on March 17, 2011


"I don't want to pay for your content because we disagreed over whether going to war in Iraq approximately a decade ago was a good idea"

Of course, it's not "disagreeing over whether going to war in Iraq .. was a good idea".

It's "How could we make a responsible decision when the NYT's editors didn't even bother fact-checking what they printed?"

That's why we've given up on the NYT. Because they can't be trusted to do actual Journalism.
posted by mikelieman at 10:31 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I really love the NYTimes! *ducks*
posted by pwally at 10:31 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed, take personal fighting stuff out of this thread please ]
posted by jessamyn at 10:35 AM on March 17, 2011


I read about this on boingboing before coming here.

I now realize what the owner of the testicle offered by Cory must surely be in this thread somewhere above this comment.
posted by DreamerFi at 10:36 AM on March 17, 2011


RIP Print.
I understand you're just mindlessly regurgitating something you thought sounds good but the NYT isn't likely to die. their content isn't either. it's just the delivery vehicle that's about to be replaced. so yes, print is dead. but the print you meant is very much alive.
posted by krautland at 10:38 AM on March 17, 2011


Only the Times still has the guts and manpower to put out hard hitting journalism like Julian Assange, Cat Hater. (Half kidding, but I'm really surprised that they count blog entries toward the 20 per month.)
posted by theodolite at 10:42 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The NYTimes prints some silly stuff, but I can't think of a better newspaper in the US. I also do like their iPod app. I think their content is worth paying for, but I think it would have to be $5-10/month for me to do it instead of going elsewhere for news.
posted by snofoam at 10:44 AM on March 17, 2011


I'm going to try not to get into this thread too much since my contract with The Times is only recently up (I authored the first draft of /digitalfaq), but there's a simple explanation for this one. The mobile apps are not designed for the metering of content, and can't be updated the way the website is (basically, with a few cookies). They'd have to be redesigned from the ground level up, which is expensive and time-consuming, not to mention the fact that some of the apps were developed externally. It's far easier to shutter the sections (originally, there were supposed to be four sections for free).

I sort of get what you're saying, but they should charge for the app, not for the content itself because that's already paid in the initial subscription. But they want a free app in the iTunes store and they don't want to pay a commission to Apple. This might also be why they're charging so much more to have subscriptions on smartphones and tablets to defray the commissions on subscriptions.
posted by birdherder at 10:46 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


a note in passing: I see very often a one-link post to this very site, and the stuff via NY Times Magazine section...now it may be behind a paywall or if so and used by a subscriber, a violation of copyright...
What is truly funny: so many tv news places regurgiate stories they skim from the NY Times and pass off as journalism they do.
It is a great paper. I subscribe and will continue to do so. For those who bitch and want free stuff--go forth and rethink reality.
posted by Postroad at 10:48 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


They lost Frank Rich. There's nothing left I need from the Times.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:53 AM on March 17, 2011


I've payed for nytimes to be delivered on a kindle because of how handy it was for this lazy user to read vs. sitting at a computer and navigating a website. (likewise with The Economist, Asimovs, etc.).

I wonder if they had any significant uptick in subscribers due to the kindle? guess not enough.
posted by bleary at 10:55 AM on March 17, 2011


So a little late here, but...

Without income, the New York Times can't afford to pay its staff. Without staff, the New York Times can't afford to report journalism. So unless you want a 14-year-old's little blog giving you the latest information about the issues in their hometown, someone has to pay the journalists.

For what it's worth, I find their new approach rather reasonable in contrast to their earlier attempt at a pay wall.


The NYT rakes in a ton of cash with online ads. The million dollar question here is whether the subscription revenue will be higher than the lost ad revenue.

it's not like the current online NYT generates no money, because it generates a lot of money.
posted by GuyZero at 11:03 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember when the nytimes did a similar move previously with the times select or whatever bullshit they called it about 2 years ago and it failed?
while i love the nytimes, I will not pay that much for its content and will figure out a way around its bullshit 20 articles a month.
Those prices are far too high, and I am sure their readership will further suffer.
posted by handbanana at 11:03 AM on March 17, 2011


I won't be paying them, especially not such a grandiose price, and I think that I'll find some way not to without changing my reading habits too much.

A couple of years ago, a member of the Times' Editorial Board (a family friend) told me that this was being planned. I recall that I compared, perhaps a bit rudely, the Times with a pay wall to the Metropolitan Opera, since people who will really pony up are going to be an aging and declining demographic. (Although this is obviously true of their delivery subscribers as well.)
posted by knoyers at 11:04 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, from the subscription plans page...

Free, unlimited access to NYTimes.com is provided to all print subscribers, no matter what type of subscription you have (daily, weekday, Weekender, etc.).

Maybe I'll just start getting the Sunday Times which is a pretty good read anyway. It's about the same price.
posted by GuyZero at 11:06 AM on March 17, 2011


Yeah I'm not sure why the issue has been framed as "you assholes are too cheap to pay for content" because every time I look at the NYTimes today, I pay with my eyeballs. You know, to the people who really pay for the reporting: the advertisers.

Newspapers aren't a charity, and pleas to treat them like one aren't going to work. I'm not sure why they are exempt from the rules that govern every other product for sale in our society: make something I want, and I will pay for it.

Here, I'll give you an example from the oft-compared music industry: $20 for a CD? Nope. $4 for the DRM-free album on Amazon? Yup.
posted by danny the boy at 11:10 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


My problem with paywalls is that they take us back to the time when people would use just one source to get their news. The internet age has exposed people to a variety of viewpoints/opinions, meaning that from a UK perspective I can read the Daily Telegraph's take on a subject, and the Guardian's take. This, surely, is a good thing. Back before internet news took hold the majority of people only bought one newspaper. When I was a young teenager I read the Daily Telegraph because that was what my parents had delivered to the house everyday. I couldn't turn to the Guardian for an alternative viewpoint because it wasn't available, and to make it available would have meant my parents forking out a lot of money over the course of a year. Of course I could watch the news on television which, in the UK at least, pretty much lacked bias (good thing?). However it also lacked depth of analyses, so could hardly be relied on as a sole source of information.

Paywalls take us back to those bad old days. I know plenty of people who would be willing to pay for the online content of the Guardian, or the Times, or the Daily Telegraph. I don't know anyone who would be willing to pay for all three, or even two out of three. This is the problem for me.
posted by jonnyploy at 11:17 AM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


every time I look at the NYTimes today, I pay with my eyeballs

Sadly, your eyeballs ain't worth what they used to be.

And I'm not just kidding here - I work in online ads. There's hard data on this issue.
posted by GuyZero at 11:18 AM on March 17, 2011


The prices announced today is the "regular rate". They are going to have an introductory rate when the paywall launches on March 28th. I'm holding my pricing outrage until then.
posted by FreezBoy at 11:18 AM on March 17, 2011


TLDR: Cough up a buck, you cheap bastard(s).
Did the NY Times stop selling advertising? The Old Gray Lady is not any different than any other newspaper *ever* - they are in the business of selling eyeballs to other businesses.

Some people feel like the journalistic reputation of the NYT justifies additional subscription money on their part. I do not. If it was "free" (in the sense of not being behind a paywall), I would likely continue reading the occasional NYT article; if not, then I will not.

Which brings us to...
lupus_yonderboy, I'm sure a paragraph that essentially says "I don't want to pay for your content because we disagreed over whether going to war in Iraq approximately a decade ago was a good idea" will convince them to change course. Well done.
Unfortunately said war, started on false pretenses a decade ago, is *still going on*. It is already the longest armed conflict in our nation's history. Thousands upon thousands of people have been killed or otherwise screwed by this "old" war.

So you'll excuse those of us who keep on holding a grudge.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:19 AM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


[few more comments removed - chill out we're all catching up on sleep. MetaTalk is your option, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:27 AM on March 17, 2011


Did the NY Times stop selling advertising? The Old Gray Lady is not any different than any other newspaper *ever* - they are in the business of selling eyeballs to other businesses.

True. But the dead tree edition of the Times isn't free either. You pay at the newsstand or by subscription. I'm actually surprised they didn't throw in some day pass to simulate the newsstand model.
posted by birdherder at 11:29 AM on March 17, 2011


I would pay for NYT

I would pay for the NYTimes, except that they don't deliver in my rural location and the online editions(s) have nowhere near the same amount of content as the paper... which is strange given that serving text on the internet is basically free. Why would I pay some indeterminate amount of money to get headlines and bullshit trend pieces on the internet?

On the other hand, I'm in the camp of people that thinks reading the NYTimes is like reading the old Pravda. It's all inner party/outer party subtleties, reading between the lines, who is saying what vs. what is actually said, and what page the story is buried on.... it makes my head hurt.

bottom line: why should I pay for an internet product which is vastly inferior to the print product? i can read the headlines in a feed somewhere, i don't need to go through headlines news filtered through some overpaid, pulitzer-grubbing reporter with an ivy-league degree. i read the nytimes for breadth of coverage, the small stories. I'm happy to pay someone to write those stories but the nytimes doesn't want my money. fuck 'em.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:30 AM on March 17, 2011



Why should I pay the New York Times to print Judith Miller's bullshit?


FFS; that view is right up there with Reagan scaring up someone who defrauded a welfare system, using the example to trash welfare.
posted by ambient2 at 11:32 AM on March 17, 2011


I would pay for actual human shit before I would shell out one dime to the NYT and Bill fucking Keller

I accept your offer. Please e-mail me for pricing/quantities/lead-time.
posted by notmydesk at 11:38 AM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


FFS; that view is right up there with Reagan scaring up someone who defrauded a welfare system, using the example to trash welfare.

Judith Miller didn't commit her fraud in a vacuum, and the EDITORS of the NYT had a positive duty to fact-check her submissions. The EDITORS of the NYT failed to do their job, and the credibility of the NYT has been destroyed by that abandonment of journalistic responsibility.

Judith Miller may have retired, but the damage is done, and like destroyed virginity, there ain't no going back.
posted by mikelieman at 11:38 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Poor people shouldn't have access to information during a global nuclear emergency, eh? Classy move, NYT.

That can't be a serious comment, can it? Local news sites and TV replay such stories ad infinitum.


Are you kidding? Local news sites and TV replays... do not come close.

My local news program consists of mostly scare stories (bedbugs, flu, road rage, and other pervasive issues often blown out of proportion), human interest stories (essentially fluff), breaking local news (not usually what we look for in our comprehensive global newspaper anyway), and a few minutes of recap of the real news. Exceptions are for times when there's breaking global news, but you can't really set your TiVo to record that. I hate watching the local news, it drives me insane because afterwards I think I'm gonna die of carbon monoxide poisioning, get kidnapped, or hit by car/bus/truck... my point is I don't get very much news via TV of actual *value* that's available in papers like the NYT

I don't know if my local news experience is an anomaly, but this is from my time in New York City. No cable news networks, so I can't speak to those.

Forgive my disgruntledness. But I was raised reading the New York Post, because at 25 cents each it was cheapest paper for my poor family in the projects. I'm in miraculously in grad school now; no one reads that shit up here. I always wonder how much more educated families like mine (i.e. really poor) would be if we had been able to cozy up with economists writing in the New York Times rather than with gossip columnists pontificating in a New York Post.

I guess what I'm really saying is .. I'm sad that intelligently reported news (has come, is coming, and will still be in the future) at a premium- out of the reach of so many of our low-income poor.
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 11:41 AM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why do the digital subscriptions cost more than a print delivery subscription, if the print subscription includes full access to the digital content? I'm paying roughly $15 a month for Monday to Friday delivery, which is the base rate for their cheapest digital plan. It looks like they still don't get it.

This reminds me of an email exchange I had a few years ago with the Times trying to figure out why they charged twice as much for their 10-page daily summary "TimesDigest" PDF than for a full print subscription that includes access to the TimesDigest. They simply couldn't understand the absurdity of their pricing.
posted by stopgap at 11:48 AM on March 17, 2011


If the NY Times is truly a lie-spewing, worth-less-than-shit rag sheet for American imperialist foreign policy, then you shouldn't read it no matter what it costs. If the question is more ambiguous, then you should probably have to pay something to read it. "The reporting is bullshit, therefore it should cost less" isn't a particularly tenable position.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:01 PM on March 17, 2011 [6 favorites]


I give my local NPR station money every month because I really value what they give me. I will pay for a NYTimes digital subscription for the same reason. I'm very lucky that I can afford to do both and I know that. I gave up cable and television a couple of years ago and that garbage cost me much more than NPR and the NYTimes will and I am a much better informed citizen for having made that switch.
posted by loosemouth at 12:02 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Threeway Handshake: " So who's starting the Twitter that republishes links to every single NYT article?"

http://twitter.com/FreeNYT
posted by zarq at 12:11 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


ennui.bz - Actually there's quite a bit *more* content at NYTimes.com than in the print edition. If you just want to replace the print edition there's a dedicated page called "Today's Paper" for all articles printed in that day's edition, split by section and listing each article's page number in the print edition. Otherwise, the website also carries blogs and other sections that don't make it into print.

I'll skip the flamewar and just say that I hope this succeeds, because as others have pointed out there are not many organizations with sufficient resources to carry out in-depth journalism (even if they miss the mark occasionally) and so far we as a society have not created an alternative model to finance such a vitally important function.

And yes, I'm a print subscriber.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 12:16 PM on March 17, 2011


If the NY Times is truly a lie-spewing, worth-less-than-shit rag sheet for American imperialist foreign policy, then you shouldn't read it no matter what it costs.

I don't. Though its probably still a good idea to know what the current line of bullshit being sold to the american people is.
posted by empath at 12:18 PM on March 17, 2011


http://twitter.com/FreeNYT

Oh, internet, you never fail me. Nice.
posted by cavalier at 12:20 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is terrible. I get that the Sulzbergers have been losing sleep over people getting their content for free, but paywalls for non-financial content have never worked.

Not sure that's true. The Times of London moved to a paywall recently, and their revenue has gone way up even though their readership has gone way down. Speaking personally, because Jeremy Clarkson is no longer available online for free, and because I don't want to remit two pounds a week to Rupert Murdoch, I've started subscribing one day a week to a local paper that carries Clarkson.

I think the last 15 years may end up being an odd period of history in which people forgot that nothing in life is free. We can keep consuming media for free, and what will eventually happen is that the media will cease to exist. If we want high-quality content, we have to pay, or we have to be exposed to advertisers who are willing to pay. Online advertising just doesn't bring in much revenue for these papers, and it's easy to block ads. Yeah, a lot of people stop reading; why should the Times care? Those people weren't bringing in any revenue.

I definitely agree that pricing has to make sense - print subscribers should get access to everything, and nothing should cost more than a print subscription. But, stopgap, to answer your question, the reason that things might cost more than a print subscription is that if you're not reading in print, you're not contributing to the eyeballs count that the paper uses to sell advertising, which is its real money-maker. So they need to extract extra revenue from you to make up for that.

As to why this might go differently than TimesSelect did: again speaking personally, I realized that I could do without Thomas Freidman repeating the same 10 columns ad nauseam when they put opinion behind a pay wall. I'm not sure I feel the same way about the rest of Times content - their top-notch national and iternational reporting, and their autos section, to say nothing of the occasional excellent weekend magazine piece.

A lot of people are going to cut the Times out of their lives now. A lot of those people would never have been newspaper subscribers under the old model, so I'm not sure that the New York Times is giving anything up.

In fact, I think that the last 15 years in the world of media have been highly peculiar because the news media have essentially been engaged in slow-motion group suicide: giving away their product for free and not figuring out how to monetize readers who've given up their paper subscriptions as a result. The bleeding can go on for only so long.

The wire services are particularly complicit in this. They do so much of the basic boots-on-the-ground reporting, then they let anyone who buys their product give it away for free, slowly driving readership from those customers who do generate revenue to those who don't. Over time, this is going to mean that more and more of their customers drive themselves out of business; then their customer base dries up, and the wire services can't function anymore. At that point, we spoiled netizens might start to remember that nothing in life is free, but it'll be too late. If I were AP, Reuters or AFP, I'd make it a rule that none of my content can be reproduced for free online, just like the Times of London doesn't allow papers who buy Clarkson to put him online for free. If people want to read news that costs money to report, let them pay.
posted by Dasein at 12:26 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the last 15 years may end up being an odd period of history in which people forgot that nothing in life is free. We can keep consuming media for free, and what will eventually happen is that the media will cease to exist.

This is like saying that people will stop breathing if you don't pay them. As long as people exist, they'll create 'media'. It's just a fact. Whether they get paid for it or not. They can't help it.
posted by empath at 12:30 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heh. I just got two private notes from people thanking me for setting up that twitter account. I didn't. Saw it here.
posted by zarq at 12:31 PM on March 17, 2011


Though, I guess it may be that profit seeking corporations stop shoveling vast amounts of disposable shit onto the marketplace, which I don't see as a great loss.
posted by empath at 12:32 PM on March 17, 2011


empath, dude, I am usually so in sync with your opinions that I am at a loss to cover our divide on this. You did not respond to my response to your response (say that three times..) above -- is it just that you truly feel there is no value inherent in the New York Times as an entity, or are you against the concept of newspapers in general in the year 2011?

I ask because I literally gasped at your implication that "people creating media" matches on any significant level entire news organizations. Is that just it, though, do you feel they do?
posted by cavalier at 12:41 PM on March 17, 2011


What a great day for the internet. The unsuspecting masses are now protected from Tom Friedman!
posted by grounded at 12:43 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure what kind of useful discussion is to be had by comparing journalism to "media creation". Journalists don't just go into their basement studio and pound out an investigative report because of some organic need to be creative, they need funding and editorial support. They're very different entities despite whatever analogies one can draw.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:44 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dasein: Is there any information online about The Times of London's revenues going up?
posted by adrianhon at 12:46 PM on March 17, 2011


^ "As long as people exist, they'll create 'media'. It's just a fact. Whether they get paid for it or not. They can't help it."

Well this may be true for a general definition of "media," it completely skips over the practicalities of creating and supporting "journalism." Without an infrastructure to support experienced reporters and staff, you don't get journalism, you get bloggers and eye-witness accounts. I'm sorry, but take a look at some of the large investigative pieces published every few weeks in the Times and tell me honestly that you believe a blogger or freelance journalist would have the resources to produce something even remotely similar.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 12:47 PM on March 17, 2011


This is like saying that people will stop breathing if you don't pay them. As long as people exist, they'll create 'media'. It's just a fact. Whether they get paid for it or not. They can't help it.

I think you're being deliberately obtuse, but in case a clarification is really needed: I didn't mean people will stop writing words. I meant that newspapers that are willing to pay people to go places, dig through documents, develop sources, and do all this sometimes for months, sometimes at personal risk, in an attempt to present an objective picture of what happened, will cease to exist. We'll always have people willing to share their opinion for free. We won't have high-quality reporting that aims for objectivity and that exposes everything from municipal scandals to illegal NSA wiretapping.
posted by Dasein at 12:48 PM on March 17, 2011


adrianhon, I swear that I saw that information online a while ago, but I can't find it now. I did find this, which estimates that monthly online subscribers are bringing in about $735,000 a month in revenue now. Someone who knows more about internet advertising pricing than me can estimate whether the site would have been bringing in comparable ad revenue before.
posted by Dasein at 12:55 PM on March 17, 2011


gonna miss it.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:56 PM on March 17, 2011


trying to figure out why they charged twice as much for their 10-page daily summary "TimesDigest" PDF than for a full print subscription that includes access to the TimesDigest

A guess: their advertising revenue depends on the circulation figures of the full print subscription rather than on the TimesDigest? Always remember that the money you pay in order to read a newspaper is only a small fraction of the money that the publisher gets in return for you reading the newspaper.
posted by hattifattener at 12:57 PM on March 17, 2011


...and tell me honestly that you believe a blogger or freelance journalist would have the resources to produce something even remotely similar.

Yes, but it's not just the resources to physically do an investigation. The paper's name and reputation also matter. Investigative reports like this one often rely on whistleblowers who want their stories heard and spread to the public. Random bloggers may have trouble promising them the same audience. What's more, journalists associated with a paper are better protected. They are less likely than a blogger to be the victim of retribution for a negative story, because the people they're covering know their parent corporation that has deep resources and can respond with thorough legal action.
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on March 17, 2011


I'm not convinced that other entities won't take up the challenge of serious reporting. This is probably an outlier, but SCOTUSblog has better coverage of the US Supreme Court than most news outlets--and it's funded by a law firm. Maybe this will be a model for future journalism rather than print/online newspapers.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:58 PM on March 17, 2011


Yes, SCOTUSblog is a great example. It is totally awesome coverage; but it is a niche area. It is completely fathomable for a blog to provide great and resourceful insight/commentary on a particular subject matter. It's when I wonder, who's going to do the investigative piece on the widget plant in Omaha that's the basis for the case, that I want to have a general news organization available to support the investigation.
posted by cavalier at 1:04 PM on March 17, 2011


Why do the digital subscriptions cost more than a print delivery subscription, if the print subscription includes full access to the digital content? I'm paying roughly $15 a month for Monday to Friday delivery, which is the base rate for their cheapest digital plan. It looks like they still don't get it.

I used to have a job where the sales rep from the NYT would come around and present all of their upcoming print and online ad opportunities. Sure, it was a while ago, but back then it was clear that NYTimes.com and their other digital products were seen as value-add for the print edition.

NYTimes wants the print subscriber base because that's what they're good at selling to advertising. So if this move makes more people get the print edition they win. But even getting more subscribers to the digital editions help them win because they will have a better understanding of the readers they can sell to advertisers and make more money. When you're a paying subscriber you're more invested in the media than a random passerby. You're easier to sell to advertisers. Today, NYTimes has their registration wall, but I'd imagine they have millions of Mike Hunts living in the 90210 zip code. But when you subscribe, they know your address and based on the available demographic data can say with more confidence you're more likely to drive a Lexus than a Chevy, etc.

I'm at a Starbucks right now where as part of their deal with Yahoo, they offer premium content like the NYTimes Reader, and the full WSJ and a bunch of other stuff you usually have to pay for.

I noticed the URL the link from the Starbucks portal to the NYTimes site passed along this starbucks exact GPS coordinates and the street address. In other words, as part of the free content deal, they know exactly what kind of SBUX reader they're getting down' to a one meter range. Because that's what it is all about. I'm not just a Starbucks customer reading the content, I'm at one of their San Diego stores in a high income neighborhood. I'm the kind of person that Mercedes wants to talk to (except I'm poor and using their internet long after my coffee is cold).
posted by birdherder at 1:05 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we want high-quality content, we have to pay, or we have to be exposed to advertisers who are willing to pay.

But we're already exposed to advertisers. I just went to the New York Times home page, and there are four ads, including a Flash ad for the NCAA tournament that expanded to cover 80% of my browser window.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:07 PM on March 17, 2011


Yes, but it's not just the resources to physically do an investigation. The paper's name and reputation also matter. Investigative reports like this one often rely on whistleblowers who want their stories heard and spread to the public. Random bloggers may have trouble promising them the same audience. What's more, journalists associated with a paper are better protected. They are less likely than a blogger to be the victim of retribution for a negative story, because the people they're covering know their parent corporation that has deep resources and can respond with thorough legal action.

After the way the NYTimes treated wikileaks, I'm not sure how you can say that.
posted by empath at 1:07 PM on March 17, 2011


(as it turns out, I hadn't clicked through the Times Digital link and they want me to subscribe...the Wall Street Journal works fine free from Starbucks)
posted by birdherder at 1:09 PM on March 17, 2011


empath: " After the way the NYTimes treated wikileaks, I'm not sure how you can say that."

Because I've quite literally been working directly with reporters, news producers and other journalists for more than 15 years, and I wasn't specifically referring to the New York Times, but rather making a much broader statement about journalists and the media that helps them do that sort of reporting.
posted by zarq at 1:13 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because I've quite literally been working directly with reporters, news producers and other journalists for more than 15 years, and I wasn't specifically referring to the New York Times, but rather making a much broader statement about journalists and the media that helps them do that sort of reporting.

I still think you are clinging to an outdated model that has been overtaken by events, when a leaker can just as easily drop off the documents with something like wikileaks, or even anonymous and get just as much exposure without having to deal with corporate interference with reporting.

At this point, I think the value of a leaker going to a 'reputable' paper over a group like wikileaks (if not wikileaks itself) is negligible.
posted by empath at 1:21 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wikileaks doesn't do journalism. They just release documents that are leaked to them. The Guardian, the New York Times, and their colleagues did the reporting on the leaks. To propose that Wikileaks is somehow a new model of journalism is not realistic, to say the least.
posted by proj at 1:22 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


McClatchy, RawStory, BBC, Al Jazeera, Crooks and Liars, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Washington Independent, CBC ....

So tell me again why I need to pay $370 a year for decent journalism? I suppose someone has to pay Judith Miller but I'd rather it not be me.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:42 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I will gladly pay for the NYT if it means it survives as a journalistic entity and I don't have to get my news from TPM, DailyKos, or the Huffington Post.

You and maybe 10,000 other people? Good luck.

"Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles."

To me, that says "We care about (some) search engines and their non-savvy users more than our regular readers."

Also, count me in with empath as people who won't miss the New York Times for its reporting.

Nope. Not a bit. If I lived in NYC, maybe, not nope. There is plenty of great (independent as well) journalism out there.

They just release documents that are leaked to them. The Guardian, the New York Times, and their colleagues did the reporting on the leaks.

I didn't get the WikiLeaks news from any of those sources. I got it from Twitter.

Give me a paper that is biased towards my interests, that actually fights for me, rather than against me, and I'll happily pay them to report news.

Democracy Now is certainly accepting donations.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:52 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


I suppose someone has to pay Judith Miller but I'd rather it not be me.

Excellent argument!
posted by found missing at 1:52 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wikileaks doesn't do journalism. They just release documents that are leaked to them. The Guardian, the New York Times, and their colleagues did the reporting on the leaks. To propose that Wikileaks is somehow a new model of journalism is not realistic, to say the least.

I don't need the New York Times to read the leaks for me and tell me what they say. There are a million people out there with the willingness to dig through the leaks and interpret them. The Times often distorted what the leaks actually said, in any case, particularly with regard to Iran.
posted by empath at 1:52 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I agree with jeremias that a lot of the NYT's new-media contact is fantastic -- these maps posted on the blue a couple months ago were especially impressive. I'm not sure how these fit into the pay scheme, though.

Those maps were (as noted by oneirodynia ripoffs in that thread) ripoffs of Bill Rankin's Chicago map of race and income.

Sorry, for all the great designers and artists working for the NYT, someone somewhere is doing it better for cheaper or free.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:55 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


For example

So tell me again what value the New York Times added here?
posted by empath at 1:55 PM on March 17, 2011


I still think you are clinging to an outdated model that has been overtaken by events, when a leaker can just as easily drop off the documents with something like wikileaks, or even anonymous and get just as much exposure without having to deal with corporate interference with reporting.

You do realize that it took 20 journalists working at the Guardian quite a bit of time to process that information, yes? That it was released raw by Wikileaks, then compiled, organized, reworked, grouped and analyzed by an entire team of professional journalists so that it could be consumed by the public? That they and other news organizations spent an extensive period of time doing investigative analysis so that the information in only 4000 Wikileaks documents (out of 245,000+) was in fact turned into something useful, and not an overwhelming, loose mass of data?

The Guardian published a months worth of stories on the information, tightly analyzed and categorized so that the public could make sense of it. Other organizations, including Al Jazeera, spent their time working on other categories.

You're missing the point of my comment. Perhaps you'd like to go back and read it again. The point is that in-depth investigative reporting usually relies on an organized network of professionals, and sometimes, those professionals need the protection a news organization can provide in order to do their jobs without interference.
posted by zarq at 2:13 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


This comes with interesting timing, I cancelled my subscription just yesterday.

In a recent article vegetarianism is conflated with slaveowning and baby killing.

Maybe the real problem with the argument that it’s O.K. to kill plants because they don’t feel exactly as we do, though, is that it’s the same argument used to justify what we now view as unforgivable wrongs.

Slavery and genocide have been justified by the assertion that some kinds of people do not feel pain, do not feel love — are not truly human — in the same way as others. The same thinking has led to other practices less drastic but still appalling. For example, physicians once withheld anesthetics from infants during surgery because it was believed that these not-quite-yet-humans did not feel pain (smiles were gas, remember).


Although it was good to see NYT take a stand against genocide.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 2:15 PM on March 17, 2011


Although it was good to see NYT take a stand against genocide.

If only we could get them to start calling torture, torture instead of 'enhanced interrogation' or whatever bullshit circumlocution they're using these days.
posted by empath at 2:17 PM on March 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sorry, for all the great designers and artists working for the NYT, someone somewhere is doing it better for cheaper or free.

I'm really not in the business of defending the Times, I have no connection to them, but I do tend to defend designers and this statement is just terrible logic.

You can sit there with a straight face and tell me that on a daily basis there is a group of altruisic interactive designers and graphic artists who wake up each morning and decide to crank out charts and graphs based on the news? And they do this all for the love of it, absolutely free?

Please.

Any system where a talented designer can get paid a good wage to create compelling content whose goal is to inform, educate and entertain is worth fighting for. Which is why I hope the NYT can figure out how to make it work.
posted by jeremias at 2:25 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Any system where a talented designer can get paid a good wage to create compelling content whose goal is to inform, educate and entertain is worth fighting for. Which is why I hope the NYT can figure out how to make it work.

I just don't see the point of the middle man. This is the recording industry all over again. If you want to be a journalist, start doing journalism. If you want to be a musician, record an album. Maybe subscriptions on the ipad will make it possible for indie journalists to actually make a living selling their work directly without depending on a newspaper.
posted by empath at 2:39 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I just don't see the point of the middle man.

A newspaper isn't a middle man. Rookie reporters learn real world investigative techniques from veterans, they are enabled financially in ways that they couldn't possibly manage without being part of a collective, and they have editorial oversight. This comparison of journalists to musicians is entirely facile.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:42 PM on March 17, 2011 [8 favorites]


A newspaper isn't a middle man. Rookie reporters learn real world investigative techniques from veterans, they are enabled financially in ways that they couldn't possibly manage without being part of a collective, and they have editorial oversight. This comparison of journalists to musicians is entirely facile.

You can say similar kinds of things about the support structure that a record label provides, but in the end all of those functions aren't exclusive to newspapers. I'm not just fantasizing here -- reporters right now are running their own news organizations -- the daily beast, talkingpoints memo, politico, huffington post, etc -- there are lots of models for making a living doing journalism.
posted by empath at 2:47 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The point is that in-depth investigative reporting usually relies on an organized network of professionals ...

yes, but the Internet has totally redefined the notion of "network" and will continue to do so for the near future. no one knows what will happen, but I'm pretty sure the days of printing papers with box scores marked "late game" are (soon) gone for good.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:48 PM on March 17, 2011


yes, but the Internet has totally redefined the notion of "network" and will continue to do so for the near future. no one knows what will happen, but I'm pretty sure the days of printing papers with box scores marked "late game" are (soon) gone for good.

Most likely, yes. That handwriting has been on the wall for years. Print media needs to restructure drastically or die.
posted by zarq at 2:50 PM on March 17, 2011


I just got an ad. I have been given complimentary access for the rest of the year, "courtesy of Lincoln," for a "select group of frequent visitors" or something like that.

So turn off your adblocker. The $15 a month sounds high to me. I suspect they'll never charge it. I was just thinking they would always have deals like "for a limited time, get 3 months for $15." If I'm getting nine months "courtesy of Lincoln" then I imagine it will be the rare person who ponies up that much money.
posted by massysett at 2:55 PM on March 17, 2011


RIP print.

Sometimes print does a Lazarus.
posted by nickyskye at 3:34 PM on March 17, 2011


If only we could get them to start calling torture, torture instead of 'enhanced interrogation' or whatever bullshit circumlocution they're using these days.


NYT and "torture": Searching for a justification
posted by homunculus at 4:16 PM on March 17, 2011


I understand the Times has to pay people. That's fine. Altho they have been known to be some have the best paid reporters in the US.

My problem is that this is going to sort of set up a have and have not system. If you're rich enough to pay, then you can get the news. If not, sorry folks, you're obviously not smart enough to make what we think are decent enough salaries to pay for our content. The subscription prices are incredibly high, especially in light of magazine subscriptions, NetFlix, even my cable bill -- which is high, but I get a lot more hours of content than I get through looking at the Times. The subscription prices are way too high.
posted by JadeBlue at 4:24 PM on March 17, 2011




I just don't see the point of the middle man. This is the recording industry all over again. If you want to be a journalist, start doing journalism. If you want to be a musician, record an album. Maybe subscriptions on the ipad will make it possible for indie journalists to actually make a living selling their work directly without depending on a newspaper.

First of all I was using the case of a "designer" not a journalist. But I'll take the bait anyway. In the process of journalism I think there can be a significant value in good editors. This seems to be "the point" of the middle man. There's also significant value in a system that can gather reliable data quickly and easily and have it verified and delivered to the public.

The model of news and journalism is clearly in transition, but this doesn't mean you have to throw out the entire system, it just needs to evolve. Which is why I say again I hope the NYT figures out some way to make it all work.
posted by jeremias at 5:10 PM on March 17, 2011


I do hope they figure out a way to make money. I don't think this is it, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:19 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would pay about $35 a year for some kind of metered access, sure. I think I read about 10 full articles a week. So $35 for 500 articles, then pay again in about a year when it's used up. I like their Flash infographics, OpEd, the pop science and cooking- but much of the front page headlines I feel could get from any source, and I'd actually prefer to get from several sources. A single article at 15 cents for 15 minutes of good reading sounds about right to me.
posted by bendybendy at 6:52 PM on March 17, 2011




Wait, wait, wait. Times spent $40 million to implement this paywall? Are the developers' keyboards gold plated with diamond encrusted function keys? I mean the specs are as follows:

- 20 views a month unless they come from Twitter/Facebook
- If they subsribe, let them in.

Okay, so you have some routing rules in what constitutes an article, and granted there can be some complex logic in what I'm sure is a very complex distribution system. Still, I can't imagine it taking more than 20 competent, senior developers a years work to get this going. This isn't 1965 anymore, we have high level languages.

Eh, I've seen enough of these implementations to know better:

- $15mil McKinsey Consulting for coming up with ways to "monetize new media, cross-platform technologies" (read: a hundred PowerPoints where the solution is charge more than the fucking pay subscribers, yes more than it costs to have someone deliver a physical product to your house every Sunday).

- $5mil to lawyers at some firm that I'm sure someone at AboveTheLaw is both snarking at and secretly resenting they never got an offer to.

- $15mil for data center expansions, and I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that Cisco/HP/Oracle sold them on some sort of new "modular" or "pod" data center that, if you squint, manages to save money.

Hey we're at $35mil. So yeah, $5mil for this sounds about right.
posted by geoff. at 8:03 PM on March 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The New York Times knew about the warrantless wiretapping program in 2003, and at the request of the Bush administration, they refused to publish anything about it until after the 2004 elections. The New York Times repeatedly and without hesitation refers to waterboarding as "torture" when other nations perform it, but justify their refusal to call it "torture" when Americans perform it by saying that it's the subject of debate. Remember that waterboarding is recognized as torture when literally any other nation performs it, that the UN says it should be prosecuted as torture, that in 1983 we convicted a Texas sheriff of "conspiring to force confessions" for waterboarding a suspect.

I believe there's a demand for quality journalism that's funded by something other than lowest-common-denominator ads. I'd love to subscribe to it; I'm dying to read it. But seriously, if this best-funded, most-liberal paper of note is this beholden to crushing, overriding pressure from the government not to say "the wrong thing," then where will we ever be able to get the truth about literally anything?
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:29 PM on March 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


where will we ever be able to get the truth about literally anything?

I started to say 'Twitter', you know, just as a joke, then had to spend the next few minutes struggling to stop my own fist from punching me in the face.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:36 PM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


New York Times articles follow a pattern. Here's a list of how most of them end, totally free, to help you be more selective about which ones you read.
posted by zarq at 8:51 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some interesting number crunching at Wired.

That article is originally from Reuters, which has a pretty decent (if ad heavy and poorly navigated) free news Web site.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:37 AM on March 18, 2011


That Was Quick.
Canadian coder David Hayes has just released NYTClean, a bookmarklet that, in one click, tears down the Times’ paywall. “Released” is probably even a little strong — it makes it sound like there was an extended development process. All NYTClean does is call four measly lines of Javascript that hide a couple <div>s and turn page scrolling back on. It barely even qualifies as a hack. But it allows you access to any New York Times story, even when you’re past the monthly limit. (I just tested it out with a Canadian proxy server — works just like it says.)
Can't stop the signal.....
posted by zarq at 7:12 AM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh. They can't be that inept, can they?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:16 AM on March 22, 2011


Burhanistan: "Huh. They can't be that inept, can they?"

Apparently. Wonder if the paper will bother to fix the exploit.
posted by zarq at 7:41 AM on March 22, 2011


'Twill cost $80 million to fix the exploit!
posted by mrgrimm at 1:44 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just got an ad. I have been given complimentary access for the rest of the year, "courtesy of Lincoln," for a "select group of frequent visitors" or something like that.

Data point: I got an email offering the Lincoln free-access thing this morning. I have an NYT ID and I'm in a desirable ad demographic (one that at least superficially looks like it might buy a Lincoln) but of course am not a NYT print subscriber.
posted by immlass at 7:07 AM on March 23, 2011


New York Times Asks Twitter to Shut Down Paywall-Evading Account They want @freenyt shut off, even thought the accoun is just an aggregator of links to articles that NYT representatives have posted to Twitter.
posted by zarq at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2011


NYTimes.com's Plan To Charge People Money For Consuming Goods, Services Called Bold Business Move
"The whole idea of an American business trying to make a profit off of a product its hired professionals create on a daily basis is a truly brave and intrepid strategy," said media analyst Steve Messner, adding that NYTimes.com's extremely risky new approach to commerce—wherein legal tender must be exchanged in order to receive a desired service—could drastically reduce the publication's readership. "To ask NYTimes.com's 33 million unique monthly visitors to switch to a cash-for-manufactured-goods-based model from the standard everything-online-should-be-free-for-reasons-nobody-can-really-explain-based model is pretty fearless. It's almost as if The New York Times is equating itself with a business trying to function in a capitalistic society." In a statement released last Thursday, the newspaper's publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. said, "If this fails, I'd honestly rather The New York Times not exist in a world where people are unwilling to pay the price of a fucking movie ticket for a monthly online subscription.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:49 AM on March 28, 2011


It has STARTED. Oh the humanity!
posted by lalochezia at 9:35 AM on April 3, 2011


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