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The Media The Almighty Buck

NY Times Op-Ed Page Goes Subscriber-Only 400

Posted by timothy
from the salaries-to-pay dept.
kevinatilusa writes "The New York Times has announced an expanded subscription service to be launched this September. Subscriptions will cost $49.95 per year and include access to both the Times archives (currently available on a pay-by-the-article basis) and to the paper's op-ed columnists (currently available for free, but probably not for long). The Times also posted a more detailed explanation (registration required) for their decision."
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NY Times Op-Ed Page Goes Subscriber-Only

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  • registering NYT (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @08:53PM (#12562128)
    The Times also posted a more detailed explanation (registration required) for their decision.

    As expected. Seems the NYT is going more and more subscription oriented. I must really ask...What is the benifit on their side for the public to register to read articles online? Just to be able to sell their emails?

    • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @08:55PM (#12562151) Journal
      What is the benifit on their side for the public to register to read articles online? Just to be able to sell their emails?

      What? You actually give them real information??
    • I think it's nice of them to make the explanation for needing to subscribe require registration.

      How much sense does that make?

      Anyway, anything that reduces their readership is fine by me...
    • Actually, now they have the contacts for millions of fake adresses from slashdot users, and the spammers aren't buying their mail list anymore. Now, with a $50 + tax (oh yeah, just wait and see)subscription they can sell you personal information for a much higher price.
    • They were probably listening when the Wall Street Journal announced a couple weeks ago that its online subscription service brings in much more than its dead-tree business.
  • by mph_az (880372) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @08:54PM (#12562143)
    Does this mean in a short while the only source for free online commentary is going to be blogs?
    • Between blogs and indy news sources at least your information will be stripped of the shock sensationalism the major news sources try to rope you in with.

      A toy your child may be playing with right now could kill him. We'll tell you about it at 11... /hates mainstream media tactics
      • Between blogs and indy news sources at least your information will be stripped of the shock sensationalism the major news sources try to rope you in with.

        You are joking, right? If anything, they're worse. They're also more likely to promote crackpot conspiracy theories and publish stories with little or no evidence.

  • Explanation (Score:2, Funny)

    by sjbe (173966)
    The Times also posted a more detailed explanation (registration required) for their decision.

    "We're greedy bastards!"?
  • heres an Idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nf1nk (443791) <nf1nk@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @08:56PM (#12562159) Homepage
    Lets take an Ad based media business in meatspace, and try to move it to cyberspace, (I hate that word) but heres the kicker, instead of being and ad based cash flow, lets be subscription based.
    Somehow I don't see this working, and I am fairly sure taht the subscribers still get nailed with ads even on the older articles.
    On the other hand, full access to their archives is worth a few bucks a year (think 20), but their OP page is worth less than the electrons needed to display it.
    • by Knytefall (7348) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:07PM (#12562249)
      business in meatspace, and try to move it to cyberspace, (I hate that word)

      But you like the word "meatspace?"
      • by Nf1nk (443791)
        strangely enough I do, meatspace to me describes the world we live in, in a harsh light that reinforces the difficulties associated with getting things to work, when we have all of this delicate, stupid, and self destructive meat running around making meat noises, and more meat.
        I guess I coud call it peoplespace, but it doesn't convey the same disdain I have for many of the folks who make my life difficult.
        • Meatspace? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tkrotchko (124118) *
          It's really a silly word.

          How about "reality"?
          • reality (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Nf1nk (443791)
            Reality is subjective, meatspace is just a part of it.
            • Re:reality (Score:3, Insightful)

              Reality is subjective, meatspace is just a part of it.

              What you said is logically equivalent to "square are circular, area is just a part of it."

              Reality = "that which is exists independent of the observer, that is to say exist objectively." (Of course, there may or may not be any such thing.)

              subjective = "depending on the observer."

              meatspace = "related to physical objects, people."

              The terms you combined don't really make any sense together. What you're trying to say is, "Experience is subjective, an

              • Re:reality (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Decker-Mage (782424)
                Thine argument is circular since you insert assertions into the previous statement that are not asserted by the original author. The point of injection is your assertion that reality "exists independent of the observer, that is to say exist [sic] ojbectively." I couldn't, and neither apparently can the original author, disagree with you more. And I would further assert that current bleeding edge studies into quantum cosmology would equally support my assertion that reality is subjective. Indeed, multipl
        • by The One and Only (691315) <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:51PM (#12562591) Homepage
          HK-47: "Statement: HK-47 is ready to serve, master."
          Revan: "You don't need to call me master, you know."
          HK-47: "Query: Don't I? I was under the assumption that organic meatbags such as yourself enjoyed such forms of address."
          Revan: "Organic meatbags?"
          HK-47: "Retraction: Did I say that out loud? I apologize, master. While you are a meatbag, I suppose I should not call you as such."
          Revan: "You just called me a meatbag again!"
          HK-47: "Explanation: It's just that... you have all these squishy parts, master. And all that water! How the constant sloshing doesn't drive you mad, I have no idea..."
          Revan: "Neither do I, come to think of it..."
          HK-47: "Statement: Now do you understand the travails of my existence, master? Surely it does not compare to your existence, but still..."
          Revan: "I survive. Somehow."
          HK-47: "Commentary: As do I. It is our lot in life, I suppose, master. Shall we find something to kill to cheer ourselves up?"
          ''Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic''
    • Re:heres an Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Haven't you ever read the comments on a pop-up blocker, ad-blocker or commercial blocker story around here? Slashdot seems violently opposed to advertisements in any form. Most suggest that they would rather pay for content directly (although personally, I doubt it). Well, here's their chance to prove it.
    • The funny thing is that supposedly my local newspaper says that the cover price doesn't pay for the cost of the paper & printing. The ads pay for the rest of the operations.
    • The meatspace version costs $$, in addition to being supported by ads, correct? I don't see how the subscription thing is anything new. (granted, newsprint is definitely part of the cost of a paper, but I'd bet it's still not 100% of what the end-user pays)
      • we have little local fishwrap here that comes out once a week, that get this... is free, it has several pages of news, some reviews, some comics, and some great off the deep end opinion pages (well worth the cost of admission).
        It's not delivered (if you don't count the stack in front of Taco Bell), but it suits my newspaper needs fairly well.
        The point here was that there are business models taht work with newspapers thatdo not include subsciption
        And look its online too http://www.newtimes-slo.com/ [newtimes-slo.com]
    • Re:heres an Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cpeterso (19082)

      well, did the print ads actually work? The success of web ads is easy to measure. The success of print ads is not. There's an old marketing saying that, "I know half my marketing budget is spent on wasted ads, but I don't know WHICH half!" <:)
      • Re:heres an Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nf1nk (443791)
        I know half my marketing budget is spent on wasted ads, but I don't know WHICH half!" :)

        And with online ads you still don't. You know about a tiny percentage of folks who clicked through, but you still don't know about the people who now know your name, but didn't before.
        For example I know about rackspace offering colocation and hosting services, but I have never clicked through, and aparantly they offer support. Rackspace doesn't know that this ad was sucsessfull (they might now) because I havn't cicked
  • So that means (Score:5, Informative)

    by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @08:56PM (#12562164) Homepage Journal
    ...Slashdot will finally stop linking to NY Times articles? Regardless of bugmenot.com, the whole registration thing just didn't go over well. There's plenty of other news sources besides NYTimes. Plenty!
    • Re:So that means (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Quantum Fizz (860218)
      Most slashdot links to NYT are to articles, not Op-Eds.

      I still think the New York Times is of decent journalistic integrity, even after the few debacles of the past year or two. IMHO, the NYT is one of the best 'free' online US news sources.

      Now their Op-Ed pages, on the other hand, vary greatly. Some op-eds are worthwhile, some are so-so, while some, especially the refuse spewed out by KarlRove-lite David Brooks, aren't worth the energy of clicking the mouse button. I think this move will not signif

      • Re:So that means (Score:4, Interesting)

        by macshit (157376) * <[miles] [at] [gnu.org]> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:26PM (#12563189) Homepage
        Amen... I've been reading NYT online since 1995/6, and I really like their Op-Ed page -- it's the one place I consistently visit on their site -- but I'm not going to pay $50 a year to read it. It's not that good...

        especially the refuse spewed out by KarlRove-lite David Brooks, aren't worth the energy of clicking the mouse button

        Yeah, agree here too. I really liked William Safire (the NYT's previous "token conservative" columnist). His viewpoint sometimes drove me nuts, but he was a great read: intelligent, did a good job of backing up his arguments, and simply had a sense of style (he'd be a great person to argue with over dinner!). I suppose David Brooks is his replacement, but man he's pretty pathetic compared to Safire.
  • So does this mean... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by grasshoppa (657393)
    ...that slashdot will stop linking to them?

    Not trying to troll, but what's the point of linking to a story when most of your readership can't/won't subscribe to read it?
    • I just typed in random user/email passwords until I hit one that worked. Like penny/penny, slashdot/slashdot, or whatnot. Works pretty well.
    • Remember, this is just the Op-Ed section. The vast majority of stories that slashdot links to at the Times are NOT Op-Ed.

      Granted, this may be a trial run to see how this may work for the entire paper's content. We will have to wait and see for that.
    • Not trying to troll, but what's the point of linking to a story when most of your readership can't/won't subscribe to read it?

      I'll bite: because those who can/will may be interested in the story, while everyone else is free to ignore it. If you don't like those links, just don't click on them -- just like you can change the channel if you don't like what's on TV. If alternative news sources are covering the same story, you're welcome to Google for them and place a link in the comments as a public servic
    • kickbacks.
  • by DanielMarkham (765899) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @08:56PM (#12562167) Homepage
    Let's see, increasing prices in a dying industry. That makes a lot of sense, right?
  • Just curious. Does anybody here actually read it?
    • I do. I got hooked seven-years-ago when I shared cube with a fellow news junkie whose web page always came up with the NY Times. Since then I also read the websites of my local paper, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Los Angeles Times, to get different perspectives on world events.
    • me. I click nytimes.com and slashdot.org in that order about four times a day. for whatever that's worth. I think I'll pay, even though it's only the op-ed page that's going away for nonsubscribers. Maureen Dowd alone is worth a dollar a week. mt
      • Is she really worth a dollar a week? Because I get *my* snide female urban sophisticate dosage for *free* via wonkette (even though it's not always Ana Marie Cox). Besides, Dowd jumped the shark in approx 1999 IMHO.
      • I read it too. I like Paul Krugman and Thomas Friedman. I like the book review too.

        Since I subscribe to the paper Sunday NYT I wonder if I can continue reading it, without paying more.

        The bad thing about NYT is that it is not visible to Google, which will make it irrelevant in the long run.

  • They also seem to have stopped allowing you to read articles without registration if you set your user agent to googlebot.
  • In other news ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@yahoo.LISPcom minus language> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:11PM (#12562285) Journal
    • Native Americans have announced plans to charge a subscription fee for their smoke signal based network
    • NBC, CBS, and ABC announced plans to begin covering news items on their respective reality TV series, since that's all people will watch
    • Amtrak announced that it still uses trains
    • SCO ("the owner of UNIX") announced plans to sell white-box computers with SCO Openserver and UNIXWare. (Really.) [yahoo.com]
  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:12PM (#12562295) Homepage
    What's the only thing that's easier to find on the Internet than free news? No, not porn, OK well maybe. But what I had in mind is people's opinions, posted on the web for all the world to see.

    You can go anywhere on the web to find opinions on most any issue, nearly all of them freely accessible. Instapundit on the right, Daily Kos on the left, and million smaller sites in between.

    In a web that's overflowing with opinions and analysis, much of it well-written, the NY Times thinks people will pay $50 a year to read theirs? What are they smoking?

    Here is what will happen after the Times initiates its plan. Some corporate customers who already pull archived articles off will sign up for this $50 program and find they also have access to the Op-Ed page. Whoopdedoo!

    But my bet is like four people in the US will pay the $50 a month for the sake of accessing the Times' Op-Ed section. If you can't sell the news online, you definitely can't sell opinions. And keep in mind that a huge portion of the Times' readership now comes from web surfers. What this means is that the Times has just voluntarily traded away much of its enormous political influence for maybe $200 a year. Amazing.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's not the opinions, which aren't all that different from anyone else's. It's the manner in which they're expressed: gramatically correct English, no misspellings, precise organization & structure, etc.

      For every thoughtful Slashdot comment, there are probably one hundred that are flawed in one way or another. Two thirds resemble the incoherent babble of George Bush in the first presidential debate.

      The NYTimes separates the wheat from the chaff and that's what people will be paying for.
    • I don't understand why they would restrict the op-ed page of all places.

      What I really value about the Times and other papers is the through news reporting and analysis. That's the kind of thing that major papers are really good at and it takes resources that other organizations - particularly blogs and other websites - don't have.

      But not opinions. Everyone's got those. Sure most aren't insightful, well written or well researched. But a surprising amount of blogs are all three. Sure I enjoy reading the Tim
  • by localroger (258128) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:13PM (#12562300) Homepage
    The NYT has just cut itself off from the biggest source of international exposure it has. All over the blogosphere, people are saying they won't link NYT columnists any more because they won't expect their readers to subscribe.

    The blogosphere is the next great playground in the marketplace of ideas; it's the closest thing to our forgotten history of town-hall meetings and individual participation that most of us have ever experienced. It's participatory mass media, a totally new thing that is remaking the political landscape -- not least by revealing whole new ways for major political organizations to form themselves and raise funds.

    And the NYT has just opted out of the whole thing. That shiny new FUTURE thing? That's scary. We don't know how to make money off of it. So we'll give all that business to our competitors like the LA Times (which tried a similar stupid scheme and quickly recanted).

    While registration does bug people many of us will deal with it (if only by using bugmenot) in order to discuss the ideas behind the firewall. Salon seems to be doing OK with ad-based day passes. But fifty bucks a year for the content of one paper based fifteen hundred miles away from where I live? What if all the other newspapers of interest started charging a similar amount? No thanks, guys. As Atrios said, we have too much to sort through as it is. We can get along without the NYT's columnists.

    But how will the NYT get along without the buzz of bloggers discussing their content? I guess the answer is "like a local paper." If that's what they want to be, I guess someone else will step up to be the Newspaper of Record.

    • The blogosphere is the biggest fraud in the world. Oh no the blogosphere will not link NYT articles because of their registration. I guess the NYT will go down in flames right? Pffft.... first of bloggers don't read real journalism because they are so full of themselves they only read each other blogs. It's sort of like the blind following the blind.

      Believe me the NYT will still be around even after blogs have come and gone.
      • Key is the big blogs (Score:3, Interesting)

        by localroger (258128)
        It's the major sites like freerepublic.com on the right and democraticunderground and dailykos on the left that everyone reads which set the tone for what trickles down to localroger.somediarysite.com and my twelve occasional readers. Bloggers don't just read each others' blogs; they read each others' blogs to find other stuff to read. NYT has just opted out of being that other stuff. I suspect from your comment that you don't spend much time in the virtual company of bloggers, since you don't seem to re
        • Well if they read each other blogs to find links to something outside of blogs. Then blogging is nothing but a human search engine. But really they read each other blogs and by blogs I mean their original content. And yes I don't get involved in blogging unless it's someone who I know outside of the blogosphere who happens to have a blog (like David Chalmers).

          Anyway currently the traditional media has the monopoly on credible sources and uncredible ones too. But these are the sources that actually have imp
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:14PM (#12562313)
    I emailed the new York Times in response to this decision of theirs. Here is their reply:

    Thank you for contacting New York Times On The Web.

    We appreciate your feedback.

    We remain committed to providing the majority of the content from The New York Times on the Web to our readers at no cost,
    including our Editorials, Letters to the Editor and core news coverage.

    However, it is becoming increasingly important to develop additional, sustainable revenue models to support our online business operations.

    The details surrounding TimesSelect will be finalized over the next few months.
    However, we will share your comments with our colleagues.

    Regards,

    Jason Fairchild,
    The New York Times on the Web
    Customer Service
    www.nytimes.com/help
  • No need to pay... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pollux (102520) <speter AT tedata DOT net DOT eg> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:16PM (#12562329) Journal
    ...when you have people ready to post the content on Slashdot!

    "Hey guys...no need to log in! Here's the article text!"

    NYTimes.com to Offer Subscription Service

    By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
    Published: May 17, 2005

    The New York Times announced yesterday that it would offer a new subscription-based service on its Web site...


    Actually, the point of this post was only to joke about posters who regularly save many Slashdot users the hassle of creating a login for the NYT Online. And up until now, I suppose there's been no problem with it, since the material is available for free (sans the time it takes to create a login account).

    But I worry a bit about this move after thinking about some dubious virtues often shown in posts by slashdotters. Stealing article text seems to be a favorite pastime for at least a few posters, but when content is copyrighted AND no longer free, what happens when someone posts it (for a joke / for mod point / for ) on Slashdot, will NYT actually respond with any of those lovely cease and decist letters?
  • Seems like quite a gamble. They're spending real money on digging up and writing real stories, and then giving that away. Now they're going to hope what is their real value, the thing we'll pay for, is not all that news they made but rather "opinions" (when the Big Bang of the Blogoverse is only microseconds ago and the entire Universe is composed, to round numbers, exclusively of blogs--not exactly the world's most scarce commodity) and "old news" (again, to round numbers, "everything else left on the ne

    • I still doubt that the advertising model is sustainable. If I'm right, that would mean that eventually Google as we know it will go away, not the Times.

      Paying a few cents for good content is much better than having everything driven and distorted by advertising. Microtransactions can drive creativity and are the best hope for sustainable free speech.

      Until they come around, I can settle for subscriptions.

  • Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

    by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:24PM (#12562388) Homepage
    In order to explain to potential customers why they should register and pay for their content, they have placed the article as a registration required article.

    Way to go NYT!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:25PM (#12562390)
    May 17, 2005
    NYTimes.com to Offer Subscription Service
    By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS

    The New York Times announced yesterday that it would offer a new subscription-based service on its Web site, charging users an annual fee to read its Op-Ed and news columnists, as the newspaper seeks ways to capitalize on the site's popularity.

    Most material on the Web site, NYTimes.com, will remain free to users, The Times said, but columnists from The Times and The International Herald Tribune will be available only to users who sign up for TimesSelect, which will cost $49.95 a year. The service will also include access to The Times's online archives, as well as other features.

    The service, which is scheduled to start in September, will be provided free to home-delivery subscribers of the newspaper.

    A decision by The Times about charging users for portions of its Web site had been expected for months in the media industry. While some efforts by other newspapers to charge for content online have worked, others have been withdrawn, including most recently one by The Los Angeles Times, which decided last week to stop charging users a fee for its online entertainment listings, reviews and criticism.

    Though advertising on Web sites accounts for only 2 to 3 percent of the revenues of most newspapers, it is the fastest-growing source of revenue. Still, many newspaper Web sites fear that charging money for Internet content may send readers to free sites, with advertisers following close behind.

    The New York Times's decision to charge a fee came after about a year of study, said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of the Times Company and publisher of the newspaper.

    Mr. Sulzberger said that while some Internet users accustomed to free content might not be willing to pay, many others would be attracted by the online package of columnists, archives and other material.

    "The advertising growth on the Web has been just spectacular the last few years," he said. "But like any business, it's going to mature over time, and when that happens, it will flatten and then you'll get into the normal cycles just like we do it on print. And at that point you're really going to need to have another revenue model."

    He added, "This is going to help sustain the quality of the information that we make available."

    Alexia S. Quadrani, a senior managing director at Bear, Stearns who follows the publishing and advertising industries, said The Times's plan made sense as a business model.

    "All newspapers are looking for new advertising revenue and The New York Times realizes they have high-quality content and are looking at other ways to capitalize on it," she said. "The key is to that you want to maximize the dollars you get on the Internet without alienating the people."

    In April, The Times's Web site had 1.7 million unique daily visitors. Its daily newspaper circulation in March 2005, the most recent month available, was 1,136,433.

    The Times already charges for some content, including its crossword puzzle, news alerts and online archive. Articles are free for seven days after publication; a fee is charged once they are archived.

    TimesSelect will also provide subscribers access to TimesPast, the paper's archives; exclusive multimedia, including audio and photo essays and video; TimesFile, a tool that will help users organize articles; and Ahead of The Times, which will allow subscribers to take an early look at articles that will appear in The New York Times Magazine, and the newspaper's Travel, Sunday Arts and Real Estate sections.

    Martha Goldstein, a spokeswoman for The Los Angeles Times, said the paper still might charge for certain portions of its site.

    Caroline Little, publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, the online media subsidiary of the Washington Post Company, said a fee is "something we're looking at very carefully," but added, "there haven't really been a lot of successful ventures."

    The Wall Street Journal, which is the
  • .... you'll have access to it...for free
  • by superdude72 (322167) * on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:26PM (#12562402)
    There is more political commentary on the Web than anyone has time to read. It is the height of arrogance for them to think their editorial page is so important that they can do what no one else can afford to. I read the NYT op-ed every day, but I'm certainly not going to pay for the privilege of reading Thomas L. Friedman phone it in.

    Their news reporting is another matter. There aren't many organizations in the world with the resources to rival the NYT's reporting. But this is what they plan to give away! Stupid stupid stupid.

    They should do what Salon is doing: Offer a day pass to anyone willing to watch a 30-second ad. Sell an ad-free, year subscription for, I guess, $50. In addition, continue to charge a premium for access to the archives (which Salon doesn't do, but Salon's archives aren't quite as valuable as those of the NY Times...)

    But of course they can't go with someone else's proven business model, because they're the NY Times and they're smarter than everybody else! Bunch of wankers. Can't wait to see them crash and burn, then hopefully learn from experience. God knows they've got enough cash sitting around for a failed experiment or two.
    • Heh, you are a Friedman hater too?
      It's amazing how sleazy that man is, he is just a mouthpiece of Infosys and the Chinese government. He just takes what they say to be sacred fact, sprinkles in a little chicken little, uses the word "innovate" as much as he can, and boom there is a column. Repeat as long as the paychecks keep coming in.
      Amazing he chastizes Americans for not taking enough math and science, and yet all his columns show a disturbing abuse of statistics. Let me lay it out for you Tom, "ane
  • by danpat (119101) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @09:27PM (#12562410) Homepage
    http://www.wikinews.org/ [wikinews.org]

    Sits somewhere between NYT and the blogosphere...
  • NY Times Op-Ed Page Goes Subscriber-Only

    Great. It will be that much easier to ignore. The paper has gone downhill in the past 10 years enormously. Ever since William Safire left there has been little reason to read the OpEd at all. It is mostly become a collection of liberal left twaddle.

  • Op-Ed Pieces (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mictho (732839)
    I, for one, appreciate the opinion of the NYT staff writers; I don't always agree with them, but they are generally knowledgeable and critical of important issues. Their views are filtered by professional editors that try to afford some balance and accountability. In addition, NYT occasionally have Op-Ed pieces from political figures. Blogs may or may not have those qualities on a consistent basis.
  • I sense.... that their readership will drop...
  • holy shit! (Score:2, Funny)

    by pyrrho (167252)
    now I'll have to pay to hear where Chalabi says WMD are! oh no!
  • by i_like_spam (874080) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @10:05PM (#12562703) Journal
    I have been an on-line Op-Ed NYTimes reader for many years now. The pieces represent the full political spectrum from the left (Krugman) to the right (Brooks). The pieces are very well written and highly intelligent. Unfortunately, $50/year is kind of steep for my budget, so I will deeply miss this source of information.

    However, I understand their reason for targeting the Op-Ed pieces. They are usually the "Most E-Mailed Articles" [nytimes.com]. Over the last 7 days [nytimes.com], for example, Op-Ed articles were 11 out of the 25 most e-mailed articles.
  • by Teddy_Roosevelt (757045) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @10:06PM (#12562716)
    A far more important issue than whether we'll have to pay for access that we're currently getting free is what will this do to search engine indexes?

    The Wall Street Journal, which requires a paid subscription (worth every penny, by the way, as will the NY Times subscription also surely be), has essentially removed itself from Google's index. Now I realize that the NYT already requires registration, but the effect of these attempts to monetize access is to partition the knowledge on the Internet into many small fortresses.

    Wouldn't it be great if every article published in the NY Times for the past 150 years were indexed in Google? There would be a thousand really interesting uses coming out of the woodwork, uses that we can't even imagine without trying it.

    Yes, I know, they need to make a living, but please, let this information be free. If the searcher/finder of record (Google) is barred at the gate from the paper of record, we're losing something really valuable.

    I used to be a newspaperman, and now I fight for free speech on the Internet. I wish we could find a way to honor both of these tremendously valuable traditions.

  • by Goonie (8651) <robert...merkel@@@benambra...org> on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @10:13PM (#12562768) Homepage
    Since the NYT went online, it's become the de facto US outpost of the global web media (in the same way that The Guardian is in the UK). Consequently, its op-ed columnists had a global audience that is not only numerically large, it contains a disproportionately large number of highly educated, well-off, and influential people.

    Long term, cutting that off (because only a very small fraction will bother to subscribe) is in my view going to cost the paper more in reputation that it'll gain in short-term revenue.

  • by earthbound kid (859282) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:13PM (#12563127) Homepage
    ...are right on the money. I don't know how many times I've been reading David Pogue's technology column, when suddenly he'll launch into a 2 page diatribe about how the grinding gears of capitalism have produced another 6 megapixel camera only by exploiting the weak proletariat masses, but one day the oppressed will rise up and over throw the cultural hegemony of white male software.

    Oh wait, I do know how many times I've read that: Zero.

    Seriously though, I think all this crap about how "liberal" the Times is is basically meaningless. It's a big paper, and each writer and editor have their own view of the world. To take an example, before the Iraq War, Judith Miller kept "leaking" information about Saddam's enormous arsenal of WMD and the intricate ways in which the Pentagon was planning on destroying them. I know that Thomas Friedman and David Brooks gave tentative approval to Bush's decision to invade (don't remember about some of the other conservatives though). On the other hand, Bush was caught on the mic saying that reporter Adam Clymer is "an asshole" during the 2000 campaign.

    Each reporter is a different person, and each story is a different story. By saying "the New York Times is liberal," you take something that's really complex and flatten it to a single dimension without gaining any insight into the real interworkings of it.
  • makes sense (Score:3, Funny)

    by frovingslosh (582462) on Tuesday May 17, 2005 @11:13PM (#12563132)
    With the shortage of things to read on the Internet we will have no other choice than to shell out $50 for this "service".
  • I'm going to miss my Krugman dosages. Where else am i supposed to get my economics candies?

    Myren
  • Now I'll have to go directly to the Democratic National Committee's webpage to find out what the New York Times thinks!

  • WikiNews (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bryce (1842) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @01:05AM (#12563646) Homepage
    I bet other newspapers eventually start following their lead, which would be unfortunate. Luckily there are some efforts to create community-based news sites like www.wikinews.org.

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