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The Media The Almighty Buck

Online Newspapers Turning a Profit 257

PCOL writes "The Asia Times reports that after years of losing money, online newspapers are starting to pay off. The New York Times has gone from losing $7.5M on their site in 2001 to an $8M profit in 2002. The new profitability is attributed to changes in the technology for delivering ads which make it possible to embed advertising in news stories and tie the ads to articles related to reader's interests without resorting to pop-ups and banners. As print newspaper readers age and die, no new readers are replacing them and one survey found that 46 percent of all journalists believe that within 15 years their publication will only be available online."
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Online Newspapers Turning a Profit

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  • by Bearded Pear Shaped ( 665665 ) <.nerves. .at. .gmx.net.> on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:23PM (#5770520)
    It's related to me not knowing how to block quicktime flash ads in mozilla more like.

    • and furthermore... (Score:5, Informative)

      by OneInEveryCrowd ( 62120 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:28PM (#5770548)
      The New York Times has even figured out a way around the Mozilla popup blocker.
      • I found their trick (Score:4, Informative)

        by OneInEveryCrowd ( 62120 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @09:35PM (#5771233)
        They don't use javascript to raise this popup window. They use an image loading facility which mozilla apparently doesn't check for.

        The code is as follows:

        img src="http://graphics7.nytimes.com/ads/usga/blank.g if" onLoad="window.open('http://ad.doubleclick.net/adi /N2870.ny/B961809;sz=720x300;ord=2003.04.21.01.58. 39','MyWindow','toolbar=no,directories=no,status=y es,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes,width=7 20,height=300, top=0');window.focus();" BORDER=0"

        Blocking doubleclick didn't stop it but produced a blank popup window. I was able to copy the page source listing and verify that removing this clause stopped the popup window.

        Anybody have any ideas on how to turn this off with a mozilla macro ? I should email the mozilla team and see if they're aware of this.

        I'm not against advertising by the way, just obnoxious stuff like unrequested popups.
      • I noticed this at work where I used mozilla all the time. So, I just installed Opera. Never once had a pop up come with Opera 6 or 7. Sometimes I prefer Mozilla because over all it IS more stable, even if it is slow... But this made me switch.
    • Re:Advertising... (Score:3, Informative)

      by KDan ( 90353 )
      Go get bfilter [sourceforge.net] and massively cut bandwidth wastage on ads. Some will still get through, sure, but you'll soon get used to wide blank areas on those pages :-D

      Daniel
  • by kid_icarus75 ( 579846 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:23PM (#5770522)
    so is the asia times making a profit by having us read this story?
    • Re:making money... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crashnbur ( 127738 )
      so is the asia times making a profit by having us read this story?
      Hehehe. +2 Funny Interesting.

      Two plausible answers:
      1. Yes, thanks to the /. effect.
      2. No, thanks to the /. effect!

  • That's Nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by billstr78 ( 535271 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:25PM (#5770533) Homepage
    It makes sense that the most profitible orgainizations on the Internet are the ones that are serving the purpose for which it was created (information dissemination).
    I would still like to see a buisiness model for the Net that is something other than the "Give stuff away for free but pop-up ads" model.
    I think that once Micro-Payments roll around to being feasible, it will be alot easier for companies to get paid for what they do without having to crowd up the Internet with those fsking ads all over the place.
    • keep dreaming if you think ads are going away if you pay for something.
    • Re:That's Nice (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GiMP ( 10923 )
      The purpose for which it was created? You mean military defense?

      • The DoD funded the Arpanet because big honking computers were expensive. It just wasn't worth the money to buy one for your group when another group a few hundred miles away already had a computer that would do the job. All that needed to happen was to hook them up.

        Defense had nothing to do with it. "Surviving a nuclear attack" had nothing to do with it. Getting the most computer power from a limited and geographically-widespread number of computers had everything to do with it.

    • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @07:12PM (#5770736) Homepage
      The success of the online news media is great news. The online news has proved to be a wonderful tool in simply educating people. Consider what life was like 15 years ago. When we talk to our friends, we might recall some fact that we read, but we might not be able to recall all its details or its source. With online news coupled with general search engines like Google or coupled with a Website-specific search engine, we can easily find the article that we read and can easily refer it to our friends (via e-mail ) or a more general audience (via Slashdot, e.g.).

      Here is an example. Consider "Poll: Hong Kong residents optimistic [cnn.com]". I have been able to refer this article to several friends and acquaintances over the course of several years. Unlike an article from an old newspaper, the online article will not be lost or will not disappear with time. The article is shocking and dispels many of the myths about Chinese society. Before reading the article, most Americans believed that the Chinese are like, well, Americans. After reading the article, most Americans believe otherwise. The majority of Chinese in Hong Kong (to the shock of many Americans reading the article) actually cheered the Chinese government and supported the unification of Hong Kong and mainland China.

      Anyhow, by ensuring that we all have an accurate picture of the world, as citizens of Western society, we can better ensure that Western governments enact legislation that best deals with other nations and peoples. Better immigration policy would be one result of the new online news.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Consider what life was like 15 years ago.

        Hmm, let's see. Back then I had an Apple IIsomething. It never gave me problems. Back then, a computer was like a lamp... you just turned it on and it worked, then when finished you turned it off. If you wanted news you turned on CNN, which hadn't started showing a lot of "big media" symptoms yet.

        If you wanted an answer to a question you just called the library.

        I traded tapes and floppies with my friends, and was blisfully free of the DMCA as I learned about

      • by Kunta Kinte ( 323399 ) on Monday April 21, 2003 @02:50AM (#5772017) Journal
        Here is an example. Consider "Poll: Hong Kong residents optimistic [cnn.com]".

        You bring up an important point.

        The Internet is also a great way to spread bad or biased information.

        How do you know CNN is to be trusted? That the conclusions from the poll are corrected?

        Personally I don't trust CNN's content. They very often don't have a clue about what they're talking about, and often push an agenda outright.

    • by kmac06 ( 608921 )
      Sorry, but the most profitable organizations on the Internet are definitely pr0n :)

      Besides, *I* think that's why Gore REALLY invented the Internet.
    • "I would still like to see a buisiness model for the Net that is something other than the "Give stuff away for free but pop-up ads" model."

      in a sense, thats what newspapers do.

      they sell newspapers below or at cost. Money is in the ads. Unfortuanatly, the internet has shown us how much people pay attention to ads.

      Using click thrus for advertising revenue is like the advertiser of a newspaper pay a quareter everytime someone comes into there shop, with a newspaper, and buys something. The newspapers would
  • Flash delivered and java flashed out. I hate registering for everything. The spam mail keeps increasing everytime I give out the email address.
    • I used fake info to register on the nyt. The only nice thing about them is that they don't verify the email address you use. This means you can give really weird information.

      I certainly didn't give them a valid email address. I think I made one up @ the nyt itself, in fact.

  • uh huh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by edrugtrader ( 442064 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:26PM (#5770537) Homepage
    next thing you'll tell me is that /. is actually making money.
    • Re:uh huh... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TopShelf ( 92521 )
      That's a good point, actually - they can claim that the NY Times website makes money, for example, but if it was a truly standalone operation they wouldn't have all that content available for free, would they? A web-only newspaper gives a more complete picture - and it still ain't pretty...
      • Depends, really. There are, apparently, some very profitable newsletters sent out only as email, the names of which often come out when they complain against spam-blockers blocking their newsletter.

        Personally, I think it's still possible to make money out of a web-only operation if you narrow your audience, focus your content only for that audience, and try making a good job out of it.

        I'm guessing most porn operations, for instance, are successful because of this simple principle.

  • by f97tosc ( 578893 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:27PM (#5770540)
    It seems to me as the main advantage of newspapers printed on papers is that it is much more comfortable to look at than a computer screen. It is also more comfortable to read in a favourite chair.

    I can't imagine that large portions of the population will be willing to give these comforts up for less than a buck a day.

    Of course, one day ultra-light laptops with revolutionary, easy-on-the-eyes screens may be commonplace; but until then I would not count out the printing press.

    Tor
    • by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:43PM (#5770611) Journal
      Online papers have advantage over their paper counterparts as well.

      1) I can read them at work at lunch w/o leaving my desk to buy one.
      2) I can search for news relevant to me easily.
      3) No ink on my hands.
      4) I can discuss the news with others and often gain contextual information in the process (con: or I can get tricked into surfing to goatse.cx!)
      5) Cheaper.
      6) I can get news from different sources (thank you Google! [google.com])

      I think that new technology (ie/ tablet pc), along with younger chaps like myself that grew up on computers, mean that eventually print news will lose a lot of market share. The numbers in the article seem to back me up on that.
      • These points are biased since I've read the paper since I was middle school and I delivered it for eight of the years since then (tip your paper person please).

        1) Things can catch my eye that wouldn't in an online paper. ie articles on the front of a section that I don't usually read or a little column that's hard to find in the online version (this happens a lot with the W.Post).
        2) I can discuss the news by talking to people. Plus I get the visceral joy of seeing people.
        3) I don't get ink on my hands be
        • Heh, I actually find myself agreeing with you, but I have a few counterpoints:

          1) Things can catch my eye that wouldn't in an online paper. ie articles on the front of a section that I don't usually read or a little column that's hard to find in the online version (this happens a lot with the W.Post).

          That depends, I suppose.

          2) I can discuss the news by talking to people. Plus I get the visceral joy of seeing people.

          I don't understand what you mean exactly(?) - I read the news on the Internet every day an

      • The biggest advantage that online versions have is that they don't have to pay to produce content. They get the paper version's content for free. That's why I'm skeptical that the NYT online is actually profitable by any fair standard.
    • by eenglish_ca ( 662371 ) <[eenglish] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:53PM (#5770646) Homepage
      I am the opposite. I use the computer for hours every day without any problems at all. I also have my monitor set 17" at 1280*1024@85hz and sometimes a second 14" at 1024*768@60hz. I haven't had my eyes hurt at all. Yet, when I read a book my eyes go into shock as they begin to pool with blood from staring at the paper. The other notable thing is that when I read a book I always have my head at an awkward angle and end up with my neck hurting my seriously. If you do have eye problems with the computer, sit back from the screen atleast 2 feet and look away from the screen whenever you feel everything else in the room begin to zone out as you get tunnel vision. Anyways, I never read the never read the newspaper for the news, only the comics. For the news I read the source we all know and love, the almight: /.
    • by Telex4 ( 265980 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @07:17PM (#5770749) Homepage
      I had a long conversation with my Aunt about this, who's a university lecturer who loves her books :)

      It seems to me that print media won't die out for a while yet (never say never ;), since there are so many advantages to paper copies. They're nicer to hold, and easier/more comfortable to read. They're more intuitive to browse, and they give you a chance to just sit back and drift through the information, rather than whizzing through pages like you do on the web. Going to libraries and looking through newsPAPERS also helps you find stuff you might otherwise not have looked at.

      That said, electronic media also have several advantages. They're quicker and easier to access, and so are ideal if you just want to find something out. Being able to word/phrase search, and use powerful tools is also a huge boon for research purposes.

      Paper and electronic media both have their advantages. I think we'll just see a reduction in the scale of production of paper reference media, as that's primarily where electronic holds more advantages than paper.
      • the technology is here to do pretty much everything you can with a book, and more. You can hold a PDA in your hand, set the font size/shape/color to what you want, change the bachground to what ever you want, change pages easier, and thus staying emersed. They could be made water resistant, hell they could be made water proof.

        With the elsectronic book, you can touch a word and gets its definition, turn on a back light, etc.. however, there probably not as good at surving a flight across the room when the a
    • I suspect that print news will die long before other printed things. The benefits of a physical copy aren't worth it with lousy ink and paper and pages that big. Newspapers also have to be delivered or distributed to boxes and stands every day, and they still tend to be at least half a day out of date. It'll be a while before nicely-printed ergonomic publications that stay current for years go away, though; those will probably last until there are electronic versions with their form factor and quality.
  • I sure hope not. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Murdock037 ( 469526 ) <tristranthorn.hotmail@com> on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:28PM (#5770545)
    It'll be a shame if print newspapers die out.

    I'll admit that I'm speaking a bit from nostalgia here, as I do enjoy sitting down with something physical in front of me. I also tend to think of the papers as having more substance, somehow, than their online counterparts-- as if seeing all the pages in front of me will give me a fuller story than clicking link-to-link.

    But the real reason I see the death of print media as a shame is the historical record the papers provide. Any library can archive their old papers for reference for all. Electronic media, as we're all aware, is subject to technology shifts, media that decays considerably faster than paper, and so on. It takes a fire, or years of neglect, to do the same to the physical object. A mistaken click of a button in a database somewhere could lose years of information, and what then?
    • Yeah, but it isn't very difficult to produce hard copies of online newspapers is it?

      Once it's paper, it can go into a library, no problem.
      • Actually, depending on how you program your site, you can distribute it on CD. I forget the name of the program but it serves ASP pages and compiles everything to an EXE. I can't afford the price at the moment but with the trial version, I was able to compile my online magazine to 35MB.

        Not bad in my book if you want to make sure that copies of your stuff are drifting around in the world for posterity.

        It probably wouldn't work for sites that allow unmoderated reader comments/submissions since there's no

        • I forget the name of the program but it serves ASP pages and compiles everything to an EXE.

          Does it come with Wine?

          No, seriously, this isn't a troll.

          With a newspaper, all I need to read the content is my eyeballs (OK, I also need glasses, but that's a personal problem). With your ASP system, you need a computer, a media reader for the storage media, you apparently need Windows (gotta love those nice, proprietary systems), electricity...did I mention the proprietary system?

          This is a real problem for a l

          • I'm not advertising for the company so I won't mention the name. You can easily look it up at CNet.

            Since ASP can be executed with Apache, the implicit complaint of "Windows" web pages is misplaced.

            That said, you are completely correct. Posterity is a bit of a joke. Considering the relative staying power of jpeg and text, I believe that my particular system and many others will be viewable over time.

            Text hasn't changed in a long, long, long time. Has it changed at all? The key here is server side

    • Re:I sure hope not. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jesterzog ( 189797 )

      Any library can archive their old papers for reference for all. Electronic media, as we're all aware, is subject to technology shifts, media that decays considerably faster than paper, and so on.

      I can't speak for most libraries, but my local library stores all of the old newspapers on microfiche, along with many other old and rare documents that are difficult to get on paper. Keeping the paper copies in the first place simply isn't feasible. From what I understand, most of it comes through various s

    • by Maxwell'sSilverLART ( 596756 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @08:15PM (#5770965) Homepage

      But the real reason I see the death of print media as a shame is the historical record the papers provide.

      In addition to the fleeting nature of bits, there is another point in favor of print newspapers: editibility (or lack thereof). I have personally seen a number of news stories appear on the web sites of various newspapers, then when I go back to read them later, they've been changed. Sometimes it's just a spelling correction (has anybody else noticed that FOXNews has had a lousy week in the spelling department?), but sometimes it's a substantial change, completely changing the meaning of a story. Those changes are rarely, if ever, marked (the one thing the Slashdot editors do right, IMHO, is posting errata, instead of just changing the stories). Such transparent changes totally destroys the usefulness of the medium as an historical record; there is no good way of determining if the record has been altered. While dead-tree format can be changed, it's a serious ordeal to attempt, and may or may not be successful, particularly with a large number of copies in circulation. I think hardcopy will remain important for a long time for archival purposes, and I, for one, will mourn its demise.

      • Well, the simplest solution to this is to save all the stories you find important. But that can quickly take up lots of space, unless you save the text only, or the printer-friendly version. (Of course in the future this won't be valid anymore when we have more than enough space for those little text webpages. What would be useful is a feature (or addon for Mozilla or some such) that would let you just click a button, or do a key-combo, and it would archive the webpage you're currently looking at. Going wit
        • In Mozilla (on Linux):

          Click on "File," select "save page as" in the dropdown menu, decide which directory you want it in, and perhaps change the title from the default, which may be something like "article.pl" or "21CHEM.html," to something more informative for you.

          Then click "save" and you've got that page's HTML and text (but not graphics, although the graphics may appear in the saved article if you're online IF the publication whose page you saved uses absolute rather than relative tags to produce imag
  • by Anonymous Coward
    just wondering.

    inquiring minds want to know.

  • by crashnbur ( 127738 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:29PM (#5770550)
    Could this have anything to do with September 11? I got hooked on using online newspapers for news (as opposed to television news networks and programs) during the election 2000 cycle when Bush and Gore were bickering about chads and dimples -- it gave me something useful to do with the Internet. And while I'm sure most of you didn't care about the election as I did, I think September 11 had a profound impact on how much current events information people crave.

    And, as we all know, the television and print news are scripted (at least insofar as they only tell what they have space/time to tell). The Internet, on the other hand, has virtually infinite potential. Concentrating specifically on news, you can find news regarding just about anything online that you can't find in print or on television.

    Finally, the absolute best way to find news on any topic: go to Google News [google.com] and search for a topic in the same way you would typically use the standard Google search engine [google.com]. The news search scans Internet newspapers from all over the world and delivers instant links to ANY reports containing the search words. Default sorts by relevance, but I prefer to sort by date for the most recent articles first...

    I LOVE MY GOOGLE. And for those who were not aware of the wonderfulness of their news site, I hope you love it too. :-)

    • by Telex4 ( 265980 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @07:26PM (#5770785) Homepage
      I think September 11 had a profound impact on how much current events information people crave.

      I think it has just made many people crave reassurance. Witness the huge ratings for "news" channels like Fox, and the reaction against many channels like BBC News 24 here in the UK for providing such constant, raw (in the sense of live and out of the studio, because it was of course more or less scripted by the military) coverage, which was just too much for a lot of people.

      Of course it's probably had the side effect that many people are now far more current affairs savvy, and hopefully it will transfer into more of a current-affairs-savvy culture, not just in relation to America's latest ventures. The Internet is one possible vehicle for this, given it's strength in linking many issues together (though of course on the flipside it will often just as easily contain people through a lack of wider linking). That's one thing that Google is good for - a slightly wider view :)
  • by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:32PM (#5770562) Journal
    I'm 23 years old and I hardly ever read the paper. I get all my news online (not just from Slashdot :) and occasionally from television. A lot of the older people I know still read newspapers, but even my boss at work gets a lot of news online.

    I have a question though - how do traditional newspapers make money? Is it mostly ad revenue or is it from actual sales? Whats the split? Why did it take so long for web news to catch up?

    • > how do traditional newspapers make money?

      They charge a margin fee for the paper, but make the majority of the money on advertisements. This is why they have a huge classified section of most papers. From 'standard' advertising you see on webpages to garage sales to cars to job-ads. This, I believe, is their primary source of income.

      I wonder about Comics.. that is, I wonder how much if anything they pay (or get paid) for them to be in the newspaper.. I wouldn't doubt if they were simply there as adve
      • I wonder about Comics.. that is, I wonder how much if anything they pay (or get paid) for them to be in the newspaper

        The newspaper pays the distributor of the comic (usually a syndicate like King Features, etc.), for the right to print the comic. The comics are an incentive for readers to buy the paper.
    • I'm not that much older than you are and I still read paper. I use the internet a lot too.

      I think ad revenue covers most of it. Fifty cents really only seems to cover the cost of pushing the paper around. There are classifieds (where you pay by the word or $15 two itty bitty lines), and the car ads, home ads, retailer ads and fliers. A lot of money goes through.

      Why did it take so long for web news to catch up?

      Come on now, that sounds a little impatient, the rise is practically meteoric. Going from
    • Newspapers charge the ultimate consumer barely enough to cover distribution cost, if that much; the majority of revenue is for advertising.

      There are a number of 'news'papers that you can pick up on the way out of the grocery store for free. They not only make all of their revenue from ads, their ad rates are typically lower than the larger papers that charge for subscriptions, and are usually better targeted. That's why I run most of my own advertising in the small specialized local papers.

      I sell insura
      • I forgot about those specialized papers. I wonder if they will ever be replaced by a web equivalent. Seems like it would be even easier than a traditional paper, except you would have to market the URL well. I imagine it has been done, though.

        I was looking for an apartment recently (and found a nice one) and used one of those freebie papers (magazine format, actually). I didn't use the web once during my apartment hunt (though I did the last time I moved).
    • A very good point. Obviously, newspapers earn their $$$ from both ads and sales, but the split, apparently, is different in different countries, and probably has to do with other factors as well.

      A point illustrated when you consider the cost of buying a daily in different countries. In Bangkok and in Singapore (possibly Kuala Lumpur/Jakarta as well), the cost is approximately the same:- 10 Baht or S$0.60. The cost of a newspaper in India, on other hand, is a mere Rs. 2 (1 Rupee on certain days); that's abo

    • If you take the public tour of the Boston Globe's headquarters, they'll tell you that it costs something like $2.50 to print each copy of the daily paper (more on Sunday, obviously). And yet the cover price is only fifty cents -- obviously advertisements are defraying the majority of that cost. You do the math :-)

      The ratio will vary from paper to paper, but I think that consistently you can assume that advertisements are paying for the bulk of the cost for any media.

      In some arrangements, advertisement is

  • by gantrep ( 627089 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:33PM (#5770567)
    Online papers are great, and are my primary source for news(I quit TV a year and a half ago), but an online paper is not quite a substitute good for a real world paper. They are still easier on the eyes, than computer screens, they can be picked up in any convenience store, you can't roll up a computer and threaten stray dogs with it, etc. I'm sure readers can think of many more ways that online newspapers and physical media have their own advantages and disadbantages. They are to disimilar for some %46 of real papers to be eliminated.
  • by practicalreality ( 667360 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:34PM (#5770571)
    Somebody better audit these guys. There is no way extending something you are doing in print to a website should cost 7.5 mil a year let alone have a loss of that size after figuring in advertising. The one time cost of setting up this system should not have even cost that much.
  • If the newspapers are only available online, it will be extremely easy to distribute the information without any sort of paid subscription. Case in point, the numerous posters who mirror / inform on how to circumvent the New York Times' registration. This is why DRM is going to be wide-spread: people want to do things online that they currently do in the real world. This requires real world limitations. DRM provides this.
    • Sheesh, I can copy-paste the whole thing without problems (something people often do when a site is getting slashdotted anyway). Their biggest problem are all the sites providing essentially the same news. With the group bookmark, I open the biggest 3 newspapers in my country + one online newspaper + one regional newspaper. Usually, they have basicly the same stories.

      DRM works much better when you are providing exclusive content. Is artist X only availible through DRM-crippled service Y? Well, since I'm a
    • I don't think Newspapers are going to be too worried about that type of thing. You can redistribute it all you want, if the ad is still in place, they'd probably be thrilled. Besides most people link before the copy-paste the whole damned thing.

      Please don't push DRM, not over this, not before it is even a problem.

    • Circumventing NYTimes.com is just dumb. They don't spam you and the least you could do for one of the best pieces of journalism in the nation is at lest tell them that you're reading. There is no reason why you shouldn't sign up. Jesus, it's FUCKING FREE.
      • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @09:03PM (#5771139)
        Circumventing NYTimes.com is just dumb. They don't spam you and the least you could do for one of the best pieces of journalism in the nation is at lest tell them that you're reading. There is no reason why you shouldn't sign up. Jesus, it's FUCKING FREE.

        You know, there's one nice thing about paper newspapers, and some but not all online newspapers and magazines (this certainly excludes the New York Times). When I read a normal newspaper, I'm not leaving a digital slime trail behind myself that records everything I've read. Most online papers quietly deposit cookies on you and track you using those cookies. I don't know why the NY Times registration process is so much more invasive. They insist on an email address. I read the NYT all the time, and I have a NYT cookie that I never even think about. I just went to my NYT profile page. It's listing an email address I had in 1996. Yikes. And back then I foolishly chose my (rare) last name as my NYT username. I must have accrued a couple thousand rows in their database by now. I can only guess what sort of conclusions could be drawn about me and my reading habits in the past 7 years. Which makes me wonder if the New York Times has ever received subpoenas from the Justice department (which the PATRIOT Act forbids them from even disclosing).

        No totalitarian government in history has ever had access to this type of information. Can you imagine if the Nazis had detailed records of every Berlin newspaper article read by any German citizen during the twenties? And they had the computational resources to do data mining and assign a score to each German based on this information? Remaining silent during the actual repression wouldn't even help you anymore! The U.S. isn't exactly Nazi Germany at the moment. But who knows what might happen five, ten, or twenty years from now? People here presume the U.S. will never become a totalitarian state- bring it up and people laugh in your face- but that's a bad sign. It's an indication that we aren't exercising our eternal vigilance. We assume we'll always have this freedom- after all, we're Americans. We'll think we still have it after they've taken it away.

        So I sometimes wonder if all my smartass comments on Slashdot will ever come back to haunt me. Maybe this post will be read by the thought police in 2010. Nobody ever deletes anything. (Hopefully Slashdot's lousy search functionality will foil them.) But I don't worry about it anymore. Between my stupid USENET posts during college, sites like this one, and my surfing habits, I figure I've left behind so many indications of being a troublemaker that it would be pointless to shut up now. But I do think about it sometimes.

        • Invasive? Hardly. The only reason that they ask for your e-mail address is so that if you want they can send you stuff. I'm sure when they made it they weren't thinking, "hm...let's give them the option of not disclosing their e-mail address, screwing up db records, so that they won't be subpoened by a bill that hasn't yet been even thought of." And get real...the US would never put your NYTimes browsing habits on display in a court. We haven't yet gotten to that point. Anyway, spend your efforts lobb
          • The only reason that they ask for your e-mail address is so that if you want they can send you stuff. I'm sure when they made it they weren't thinking, "hm...let's give them the option of not disclosing their e-mail address, screwing up db records, so that they won't be subpoened by a bill that hasn't yet been even thought of."

            I'm certain that the New York Times only had the best of motives (i.e. wooing advertisers) when they came up with this system. People who collect and assemble data like this are usu
        • On the internet, no one knows your a monkey. Even if you are the Millionth.

          • If John Ashcroft really wanted to know my real name, he could find me pretty quickly. Like most people here, I shoot my mouth off too much and give away too many details about my identity. And unless you only post as an AC, so do you.

            Actually a pair of TV scriptwriters already registered millionthmonkey.com. And I thought I was being so original. I like the graphic [millionthmonkey.com] on their page, though.
  • by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:43PM (#5770604)
    ...since these days the internet is almost exclusively my source for news. I gave up subscribing to dead-tree newspapers years ago. I'd just wind up grabbing them off of the porch on the way out the door, tossing them in the car on the way to work, and having them accumulate until I got around to throwing them out. Just don't have the time to sit down and read 'em.

    The great thing about getting news off the 'net is that you aren't constrained to the news your local publishers feel is relevant. Interestingly, I find that some of the most relevant news about the U.S. is published in foriegn papers, and ignored domesticly.

    Ten years ago, my chances of ever seeing an article that originated in the Asia Times were pretty much zero.

    And then, of course, you have sites like ./, which collect items of interest to a specific audience from all over the world. Things I'd probably never see otherwise.

    I can't even imagine having to go back to being limited to what was published on paper. I'm glad publishers have developed a model that will make that unnecessary.
    • One thing I like about my favourite newspapers (The Independent and The Guardian in the UK) is that they are not only of a very high standard, with a broad range of issues covered, but they also do summaries of what other papers around the world have to say about things, and The Guardian does the UK media too, so I can get an even broader view than the editorial spin of the particular newspaper. I find that incredibly useful and really interesting, something that's hard to come by without A LOT of browsing
  • by Klugheitsucher ( 660916 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:44PM (#5770614)
    Porn, I can see it now "Cum Inside to See the Sizzling Action in Iraq (Flash picture of Bush sucking finger)"
  • by OneInEveryCrowd ( 62120 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:47PM (#5770626)
    I have a hard time believing that the internet is the sole reason for declining readership. Other reasons may include the ever lower quality of the reporting, ie. the increasing coverage of the entertainment industry and the decreasing coverage of old fashioned "hard news" and investigative reporting. Diminishing faith in the objectivity of the coverage could be a reason also.

    Although the internet is obviously partially to blame, I think most of the newspaper industries problems are self inflicted.
    • Television (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @09:30PM (#5771220)
      Actually, televised news has historically been the biggest scapegoat for declining newspaper readership. Given that TV is even worse than the newspaper for "human interest" stories, I think it's fairly likely that the Internet is just the final nail in the coffin. Big stacks of paper simply aren't an efficient means of distributing news anymore.
  • by mlknowle ( 175506 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @06:50PM (#5770633) Homepage Journal
    The NY Times uses a system (unique, I belive) designed to match appropraite ad content to any story. The system is called "N.Y.T.E.S.," (according to a buddy who does IT there) Basically, each ad has positive keywords, and negative keywords attached to it. Each story has keywords attached as well. The system selects randomly from ads which have a high corelation between their positive keywords, and no negative keyword matches. This makes it so an ad for Delta, for example, would appear next to a travela rticle but not if the artle were about plane crashes. Publishers are givin 20 free negative keywords, and then they pay for each positive keyword - fractions of a penny per impression etc

    Anyway, I still prefer google's ads.
  • by bomb_number_20 ( 168641 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @07:02PM (#5770687)
    One problem I have with obtaining all of my news online is that editorial changes to the article can be made after publication without being noted.

    This means that facts and 'controversial' ideas can be edited, modified and even deleted without notifying the public. I have several friends who insist on copying the articles they read directly to their hard drive because they have experience with articles 'disappearing' or changing without being noted.

    Posting online allows news sources to get the news out much faster than was ever possible in the past. It seems to me, however, that it also requires a much more stringent approach to journalistic 'integrity'. In the neverending fight for readers and stories, papers can publish articles containing misinformation simply to get the story out first and then change the content later to reflect a more accurate portrayal of events.

    If the only source of news is the web, how is the public supposed to know that things were ever changed? Human memory is questionable at best. Think 1984 (i know i know i know) for a second and consider Winston's job of rewriting news and, therefore, history.

    Oops- forgot to remove my tinfoil hat...
    • by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @09:07PM (#5771148) Homepage Journal
      I wrote a Slashdot story called Online News Stories that Change Behind Your Back [slashdot.org] about this. It's a major problem with news on the Web -- as long as you think in newspaper terms. When you look at Web news compared to TV, you see it in a different light. As several people I interviewed while writing that story pointed out, a 5 p.m. TV newscast and a 6 p.m. one on the same station may have entirely different stories about the same topic, but we don't scream about the difference between the two the way we do on the Internet.

      Do we have lower accuracy expectations for TV news?

      Do we simply *notice* version differences more easily on the Internet?

      I believe in old-school "first rough draft of history" journalism that says the errors and misinformation in an initial, breaking news story are a valuable record in and of themselves, and that subsequent "corrected" versions should be clearly identified and the originals should be available for comparison. Note that Slashdot does it the way I think it should be done. This is not an accident. Part of my job around here (OSDN) is to think about things like how to handle story updates and corrections. And, warts and all, we have a very good and concerned crew on Slashdot that wants to get things as right as possible as often as possible.

      A lot of protocols and ethical standards for online news are still under development. It'll be interesting to watch the changes over the next few years in what is and is not considered an acceptable practice.

      - Robin

    • >Think 1984 (i know i know i know) for a second and consider Winston's job of rewriting news and, therefore, history.

      This is a very valid concern and abuses have already come up. Thememoryhole.org just found a new one at the latimes [thememoryhole.org].

      Glance at that and tell me you aren't scared. CNN did the same thing with rewriting Powell's speech (i believe) to make it sound more pro-war. Sadly, no one is demanding that all changes and retractions on the web be disclosed. This is a problem journalists should be fig
  • In the spirit of this new age of Internet embedded news advertising, the text of this Slashdot article should have read like so:

    -------

    PCOL writes "The Asia Times reports that after years of losing money, online newspapers are starting to pay off. The New York Times has gone from losing $7.5M on their site in 2001 to an $8M profit in 2002.

    [image - ENLARGE YOUR PENIS NOW!!! GET GEEK GIRLZZ!!]

    The new profitability is attributed to changes in the technology for delivering ads which make it possible to embed advertising in news stories and tie the ads to articles related to reader's interests without resorting to pop-ups and banners.

    [image - WANT TO GET A FIRST POST?! OUR AUTOPOSTER v.3 WILL LET YOU DO JUST THAT!]

    As print newspaper readers age and die, no new readers are replacing them and one survey found that 46 percent of all journalists believe that within 15 years their publication will only be available online."
  • The only reason we subscribe to the local paper is because I like to read the comics. If I could subscribe to a delivered paper that was nothing but comics (two or three times as many strips as the local paper prints, also printed larger) I'd pay as much as I do right now for the entire paper.

    Unfortunately, nothing like that exists that I know of. Are there any online services that I can join which provide tons of (current) syndicated comics for a low fee?
    • Re:Comics (Score:2, Informative)

      by john_roth ( 595710 )
      Are there any online services that I can join which provide tons of (current) syndicated comics for a low fee?

      www.comics.com
      www.ucomics.com
      www.kingfeatures.com
      www.creators.com
      There may be more, but these are the ones I use.
      John Roth
  • by Cokelee ( 585232 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @07:30PM (#5770805)

    How the hell am I supposed to read it in the john?

    .

    I know, I know, show me pictures of the iHole ( *iRoll* (read: eye-roll) ). Until I have a connected bathroom this paper is not going anywhere!

    And I could read this too, ooo, fun fun. [circleoflegends.org]

  • I just posted a reply to the TiVo thread about how in the world did NYT figure out how to get around Mozilla's anti-popup settings. NYT is definitely using popups, and they are getting quite militant about it. Looks like "same 'ol, same 'ol" to me.
  • A few comments (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @07:40PM (#5770838)
    First of all, what does it mean that the NYT is now making $8 million on its website? What expenses are we considering here? Given that last year they lost $7.6 million, we're obviously considering more than just bandwidth costs. Presumably we're counting all technical and administrative people that deal specifically with their online presence. But presumably we're not counting the cost of writing the articles in the first place, presumaby that's accounted for in the cost for making the dead tree version. So, in a sense, the paper version of the NYT is still subsidizing the online version.

    Second, I'd like to comment on the fact that the news media made the transition to the Internet without too much difficulty. They're now distributing online, without any form of copy protection, what used to be sold as a physical product. Perhaps as notable, the major comic syndicates have done likewise (although as I understand it, artists are not yet being compensated for people who read syndicated comics online). There are a lot of kinks left to iron out, but it looks like this is going to work, and that most of these companies that could have been wiped out by online competition will survive, even flourish, in an online environment. Perhaps the RIAA and MPAA members ought to look to the newspapers for ideas?

    Finally, just one note I find amusing: sci-fi authors have been predicting some form of electronic news reader that gets continious or periodic updates for quite some time. I believe such a device was featured in 2001. Nice to see that some predictions do actually come true :)

  • Might as well die (Score:3, Insightful)

    by craigeyb ( 518670 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @07:47PM (#5770868) Homepage

    ... As print newspaper readers age and die, no new readers are replacing them and one survey found that 46 percent of all journalists believe that within 15 years their publication will only be available online.

    Newspapers might as well die (so long as TV news dies as well). American journalism is dead anyway. Not only are most major cities losing out to a single paper, but papers are mostly just official news (news taken from official press releases). There is indeed little to no investigative reporting done anymore, and this is sad.

  • that's it? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by binarybum ( 468664 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @08:11PM (#5770951) Homepage
    46 percent of all journalists believe that within 15 years their publication will only be available online."

    This sounds a bit pesimistic to me. The cost cuts that could be made by going digital seem incredible. Competition will likely drive all but the biggest papers into the digital realm. 15 years seems a bit long though. The major obstacle will be portability, but with the cell phone explosion and the implementation of efficient hi-res full color screens and better batteries, this will no longer be an issue.

    On a similar note, if bandwidth can ever outgrow demand, the papers will all be buying video cameras and we'll be seeing a blur between newspaper and news channel. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to buy stock in the newspaper companies now. They'll have the upper hand when it comes to delivering you news when they are more like TVmedia. Currently TV media relies on newspapers for finding the stories for them to report on. They could be high and dry when the newspapers are releasing the footage they would normally have grabbed.

  • best golfer is black
    best rapper is white
    and online newspapers are turning a profit

    we live in a crazy fucked up world.
  • Misleading (Score:2, Interesting)

    by strook ( 634807 )
    When I first read this I thought "Wow, 46 percent of newspapers are going to die?" But there's a very important misrepresentation here. The article does not say "46 percent of all journalists" believe their publications will turn web-only. It actually refers to "46 percent of all trade title journalists." That's much less shocking.

    Personally, I'm glad to see the rise of online news. I want to get to the 10-25% of all news that really interests me. That's much easier online than with a physical newspaper. A
  • by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Sunday April 20, 2003 @08:36PM (#5771049) Homepage
    46 percent of all journalists believe that within 15 years their publication will only be available online.

    In that case, I hope the newspapers themselves are diligently archiving their electronic editions, hopefully in forms that would make an Orwellian rewriting of history impossible.
  • ...CNN has begun work on obits for New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe...
  • They don't use banners, or use pop ups... Maybe they 'embed' ads the way eFront did [echostation.com].

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