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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:51 AM
Original message
New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers
Source: New York Magazine

New York Times Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. appears close to announcing that the paper will begin charging for access to its website, according to people familiar with internal deliberations. After a year of sometimes fraught debate inside the paper, the choice for some time has been between a Wall Street Journal-type pay wall and the metered system adopted by the Financial Times, in which readers can sample a certain number of free articles before being asked to subscribe. The Times seems to have settled on the metered system.

One personal friend of Sulzberger said a final decision could come within days, and a senior newsroom source agreed, adding that the plan could be announced in a matter of weeks. (Apple's tablet computer is rumored to launch on January 27, and sources speculate that Sulzberger will strike a content partnership for the new device, which could dovetail with the paid strategy.) It will likely be months before the Times actually begins to charge for content, perhaps sometime this spring. Executive Editor Bill Keller declined to comment. Times spokesperson Diane McNulty said: "We'll announce a decision when we believe that we have crafted the best possible business approach. No details till then."

The Times has considered three types of pay strategies. One option was a more traditional pay wall along the lines of The Wall Street Journal, in which some parts of the site are free and some subscription-only. For example, editors and business-side executives discussed a premium version of Andrew Ross Sorkin's DealBook section. Another option was the metered system. The third choice, an NPR-style membership model, was abandoned last fall, two sources explained. The thinking was that it would be too expensive and cumbersome to maintain because subscribers would have to receive privileges (think WNYC tote bags and travel mugs, access to Times events and seminars).

The Times has also decided against partnering with Journalism Online, the start-up run by Steve Brill and former Journal publisher L. Gordon Crovitz. It has rejected entreaties by News Corp. chief digital officer Jon Miller, who is leading Rupert Murdochs efforts to get rival publishers onboard to demand more favorable terms from Google and other web aggregators. This fall, Miller met with Times digital chief Martin Nisenholtz, but nothing came of the talks.


Read more: http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/01/new_york_times_set...



They tried this before with some premium content and it was such a colossal failure that they abandoned it within months. They will have no better luck this time, and it will contribute to the further waning of their influence.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
1. I have no problem with this. I think creative content is worth paying for. nt
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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not just worth paying for, but necessary to pay for
Advertising revenues will never really cover the costs of a high-level news gathering organization. It's an expensive operation to run. Though I suspect that many, especially younger, folk here who are used to getting things for free on the Internet will disagree.

I've been a New York Times subscriber for decades (though we get a cheaper "educator's rate" than the normal subscription fee). It's not that I don't get mad at the paper a lot, but there's also no other paper that offers as much. Not only news but wide-ranging arts coverage, etc.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Exactly. You 'vote' with your dollars. I wouldn't steak a Molly Ivins book, I'd pay for it.
The idea that music and newspapers should be free is really amazing to me. I want to reward those I like.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
40. There are damn few..
... Molly Ivins' at the Times. Frankly, almost every attempt to pull this off has failed.

Why?

Lots of reasons but one is that almost every "journalistic" news source in this country is blatantly biased and I have a real problem paying for propaganda.

I'll pass.
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roseBudd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #40
44. Without a newspaper sending at least one reporter to every BoE in their media market on
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 03:07 PM by roseBudd
Nov. 4, 2004, we would not have known that Warren County, Ohio had decided to count the Bush v. Kerry votes with no witnesses.

And even though that paper is a Republican rag, they still reported what happened when their reporter was refused entrance.

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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #40
45. Don't confuse opinion writers with news gathering
If all newspapers had, like blogs, were people writing opinions, they'd be cheap to produce.

We're talking about sending people from Tibet and Afghanistan to Haiti and Omaha, Nebraska. Having a team of city reporters down at City Hall. Having journalists inside the halls of Congress and at the Supreme Court, sleuthing inside the Pentagon and in the executive offices. Hiring teams of business writers and sports writers and cultural writers (separate critics for theater, music, film, and dance).

If you just want to hear opinions from people you agree with, the internet suffices. But even these people need to base their opinions on some facts. People post articles from the NY Times here every single day. Without the work of their reporters--and no, they are not always free of bias--we would have nothing to talk about. We'd be even more ignorant than we are.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #45
49. I am well aware..
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 05:53 PM by sendero
... how valuable is it to send correspondents all over the world when the "news" that results is filtered, slanted and biased? There is no guarantee or even pretense that what we are reading is an actual, fair reading of what is going on, in fact given the media's glaring failures in all other areas I'm pretty sure it isn't.

Propaganda is not merely worthless, it has negative worth.

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roseBudd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
43. Without newspapers in every comunity to "flood the zone" corruption in government ensues
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Things get dicey with free lance authors, though.
Originally, they lost all rights when a publication bought an article. Then, they negotiated for, and got, a "one time publication" rule, such that the price they received covered only a one time publication, not the entire life of an article.

So, what happens if an author sells a story to the Times for one time publication, then the story shows up on the internet? Maybe the NYT will just stop buying articles from free lancers? (Here, I am thinking more of the daily and Sunday magazine type sections, more than the news pages.)
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Absolutely. For some unfathomable reason there are those who...
actually believe that artists, writers, and such have a responsibility to let us have their work for free.

They wouldn't get too far saying that about shoe stores or auto mechanics, but "intellectual property" doesn't count as property and is free for all to grab as much of as they can.

(Home delivery here is problematical, so when I get coffee at the 7-11, I pay 2 bucks a day, 5 on Sunday, for the fishwrap edition of the Times. But, I do think I have a right to be a little pissed that I would have to pay even more to look up an article online.)


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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. I just don't 'get' that attitude. nt
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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. By "creative content," do you mean Judith Miller's fantasies about
Iraq having weapons of mass destruction? That was pretty creative, but I wouldn't pay for it.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. I'm talking about 'creative content' in general, not specifically the NYT. You choose not to buy
the NYT and choose to 'vote' for other products. That's as it should be.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #1
42. LOL. n/t
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
4. I guess they need another dismal failure
go for it, NY Times. :eyes:
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icee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Exactly. I'll just remove their link. I pay more attention to stuff
on blogs these days anyway. Everything from big media corps is massaged so much it has no reality to it.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. The information in web logs is very self-selecting. nt
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icee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Yes. That's what I want. Over time, you get to learn which blogs
try to give an honest opinion of what is happening. And which do mindless editorialize everything. I trust very little of what I see in the NYT, even the stuff which supports my position. But for those who have the discretionary dollars to give to the NYT, I say go for it.
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brooklynite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. But that's what it is mostly.....opinion
Someone still needs to go out and gather the facts on which the opinion is based, and generally someone needs to [ay them for their time doing so.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. No matter how maddening the NYT and WP can be, I prefer info that has gone through
an editor. I go to weblogs for some analysis.
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icee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. Then we have a fundamental difference as to the responsibility,
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 11:19 AM by icee
or, rather, the perception thereof, of today's newspaper editor. I have no problem with the NYT charging. I simply will not be one of their customers. Let's see what happens. Will the number of payers keep them viable, or will it simply give them enough to get by on while concurrently costing them prestige by having a decreased readership base? I'm about to cancel the LA Times. It's gotten more expensive and the quality has decreased. It used to be a liberal paper, now it is conservative one. In summary, I simply do not think the NYT's move here will work. For different reasons.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. I'm not advocating the NYT here, I'm more of a Guardian reader...but, to me, a web log
is not a substitute for a newspaper.
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icee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #20
25. BBC for me. The Guardian is very good, though.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:37 AM
Response to Reply #25
29. Yes, I like the Beeb as well. For a progressive newspaper it's the Toronto Star, the Guardian...
and the Independent for me.

For more conservative content I read the 'Torygraph' and occasionally Murdoch's Times and WSJ.

It's sad that right wing cranks took over the Philly Inquirer. The NYDNews I also read every day, though their op-ed page had NO female writers. They just got one, and guess what, she's a conservative! The WP has 4 female op-ed writers out of a stable of 33. Ugh!

The sudden death of Lars Erik Nelson was a huge loss for the NYDN and progressives. The NYDN is still fairly progressive.

I HATE the op-ed pages of: the WSJ, WP, NYT...

I also read NAVY TIMES.
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icee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #29
33. We have a lot of agreement here. Well, I'm getting ready to go
see Avatar again, with my daughter this time. Have a good day, Captain.
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mascarax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. +1
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #13
52. There are plenty of independent journalists whose work
is available free online. John Pilger eg, Dahr Jamail, Greg Palast and many others. Journalists like Dahr Jamail who actually went to the war front in Iraq and reported the facts rather than what the Times reported, most of which turned out to be lies.

Jamail talked to the people of Iraq and risked his own life many times to get actual news without government spin.

John Pilger is a prize-winning journalist and war correspondent whose reporting on Afghanistan, the real news, the facts about how the actual people there have been affected by US policies is gripping reading for anyone who cares about the truth and about the people victimized by these wars.

When was the last time any major US publican covered our wars from all aspects, including humanizing the civilians who live in those coutnries?

I would pay these jouralists as I know we are getting real news from them. I would not contribute to any news medium who lied to the public about some of the most important events in recent times.

There is plenty of real journalism available and I won't miss the MSM's contributions at all.
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brooklynite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #52
54. "Free Online" is not free...
Take a look at johnpilger.com. Each of the articles there is a reprint from a column he wrote for the New Statesman, a British publication. I'm willing to bet they pay Mr. Pilger for his reseatrch and writing. Are you paying them? Suppose they put a paywall in front of their content?
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #11
19. The information in the NYTs is also self-selecting.
The NYTs could fold today and it probably wouldn't matter a bit to me because I now follow mostly indy reporters -- except maybe Pear and Lichtblau. They're excellent. I'd miss Bob Herbert. That's about it.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #19
23. I don't rely on any one paper. I read Canadian and Brit papers too.
I hate the op-ed page of the NYT. And Herbert helped give us George W. Bush anyway.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #23
28. One of the best things I ever did for myself was to help post
the Election Reform, Related News for a while. I had to really dig for stories and got to know papers all over the country a little bit. It was eye-opening, a great way to break out of the Post - Times - Chronicle bag.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. I used to read the Plain Dealer, New London Day, Providence Journal,
Va Pilot to get my brain out of Amtrak's Tension Corridor.

I still do, but the Plain Dealer was gutted...
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #11
41. Information in all the MSM..
... is corporate-selected.

I'll take my chances.
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
9. I always love paying to get pop up ads
:sarcasm:
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NJCher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
16. I wouldn't mind paying a little
They have made some serious mistakes in the past but on the whole, their article ideas and creative layouts are certainly worth paying something for. When I say "a little," the price has to take into account the efficiencies of digital. At the same time, I know they have to pay top notch talent, like Frank Rich.


Cher
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BumRushDaShow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
21. I subscribe
and get daily & weekend home delivery of the NY Times however I hope that if they go this route, they offer some provisions for print subscribers... Since I leave for work before the paper is delivered, I often rely on their online versions to get what I wouldn't see until the end of the day. The fact that they have online versions of their entire published archive back to the beginning is notable and great for researching.
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Sheltiemama Donating Member (892 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #21
50. One idea:
I'm a print journalist, and I know that one idea that is being discussed in the industry is letting paid subscribers have unlimited Web access. That's fair. But we're simply going to have to start charging for online content.
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Kitsune Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
22. New York Times Ready to See Online Readership Drop Like a Rock
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Heywood J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:34 AM
Original message
Pretty much.
Ethics aside, I can't imagine very many people will actually cough up the money to read it. They'll just go elsewhere to other newspapers, TV station websites, etc. They'd have to raise the price enough to cover not only their operations but to cover the lost ad revenue. Out of the few people who will pay for it, most won't tolerate online ads when they've parked down money to be there.
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Heywood J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #22
27. Pretty much.
Ethics aside, I can't imagine very many people will actually cough up the money to read it. They'll just go elsewhere to other newspapers, TV station websites, etc. They'd have to raise the price enough to cover not only their operations but to cover the lost ad revenue. Out of the few people who will pay for it, most won't tolerate online ads when they've parked down money to be there.
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totodeinhere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
24. It won't work. There are plenty of other free news sources, many of which carry the same articles.
Murdoch has said he might go that route too. But most Net users are used to free news sites and won't pay.
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scytherius Donating Member (576 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
26. I can understand the need to do this, however . . .
will the average person REALLY pay for this kind of thing in this economy? Maybe they have crunched the numbers and just don't need that many people to pay. My complete non-expert opinion on this is that this will NEVER work. It's not like cable where you get tons of entertainment options. Why would I pay for one newspaper when there are SO many free options out there that give me the same news? And major news will always show up on the sites like MSNBC, CBS, CNN, etc. Why would people pay for editorials? I don't think people are interested in paying to see the opinion of others.

I just can't, for the life of me, see this working. Not saying they shouldn't be compensated, I just don't see how it can work.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #26
31. They had it at $50 a year a few years back. That was a 'next best thing to looting' price for
access to the NYT and all its archives.
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RamboLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #31
46. Yeah that little experiment failed miserably
I'd like to subscribe, but if every news source went this route I sure couldn't afford it. Maybe if all the big news sources got together & offered one subscription service it might be worth it. Only thing on the NYT I would miss is a couple of their columnists some of whose columns appear anyway in my hometown newspaper. All this might do is keep me subscribing to my hometown paper for their hard copy which I was considering dropping. They print a lot of the NYT news columns.
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MetaTrope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
32. Let them eat cake
So the only people who will get to read the NYT's stenography of government propaganda are the plutocrats whom that propaganda is supposed to prop up? Fair enough!
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scarface2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
34. no more visits from me
there s tons of content online for free...i will take a pass.
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SoapBox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:09 PM
Response to Original message
35. Yawn...I simply don't care if they price gouge themselves out of business
...ho-hum.

Go ahead and charge...I never look at their site anyway. I'm barraged with SOOOOO much news as it is, that I (and I'm sure there are MILLIONS of others) don't need them.

They seem to think that they are important...but I've NEWS for them...they are NOT that important.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
36. The problem isn't so much price as it is choice
If I go to Google News right now, I can choose from hundreds of different stories on the major topics. Even if the majority of them turn out to be just clones of the basic wire service versions, there are still dozens of different original viewpoints. I can choose whichever one looks most interesting or comprehensive, I can sample half a dozen different stories on the same event, or I can take in both foreign and domestic slants on the basic facts.

If all of those different sources went to a pay model, I'd be locked in. If I wanted to keep getting my news from an online newspaper, I'd be reduced to subscribing to just one or two and uncritically swallowing whatever they had to say. If there were aspects of a story, or even entire events, that they left out or distorted, I'd never know. What a loss of freedom and diversity!

On the other hand, if only the Times and a few other "premium" news sources go to a pay model, having everything else being free and open seriously reduces the value of a subscription. You'd effectively be paying for access to the occasional major investigative pieces and not much else.

Basically, the value of what the Times has to offer is a lot less than it once was. As a print paper in New York City back in the old days, they had a business model based on being the first place people got their news in the morning, which made it worth picking up a copy on the way to school or work. (And there were a dozen other papers in New York, with headlines prominently visible on the newsstand, so you knew if the Times was missing something.)

But they no longer have "that* to sell any more -- and what they have left isn't worth nearly as much, especially if you're not a resident of New York City.

How much would you be willing to pay for a year's online subscription to the Times and feel you were getting your money's worth? $15? $50? $200? You people who are touting the necessity of paying for content, please think about that and suggest a figure.

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Fearless Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
37. Hear that... That was the door slamming as the last of their readers left.
:rofl:
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
38. I can't see it working
For better or worse, technology drives the production and consumption of culture. In the internet world, a lot of people seem willing to produce culture for little or no pay (wiki, blogs, DU, youtube, etc), and many people seem happy to consume a lot of that culture for little or no cost.

Real journalism (e.g. investigative reporting, in-depth coverage) is still needed, but it may be that it evolves into the newsreel or documentary format, that people are still willing to pay for. Public broadcasters, like CBC or BBC may take on increasing prominence. So might non-profit media like Harper's.

The problem with newspapers these days is that they don't really provide much of value - they consist largely of corporate or government news releases, celebrity trivia, and mostly unimaginative punditry (usually with a right-wing bias).

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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
39. This only means that
Internet business models continue to change.
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peaches2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
47. Tried it with op-ed several years ago
NYT tried subscription only for their prime op-ed columnists several years ago. I was a subscriber as there are a few I won't miss. It didn't last long though, so I assumed it bombed.
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Honeycombe8 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
48. Whatever they have to do to stay in business. It failed before, but maybe the public is more ready
for this sort of thing, this time.

If they don't charge, how can they stay in business? It's a problem.

I don't know if I'll subscribe. The trouble with subscribing online is having to give all that personal information, and then trying to stop the automated payments. I don't like that. But I'll see how I feel when the time comes.
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New Dawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
51. Good, then less people will read their right-wing propaganda.
The Neocon New York Times spread Bush's lies about Iraq having WMD. It is a consistently right-wing, pro-imperialist paper. The fewer people that read it, the better.
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MicaelS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 10:35 PM
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53. Won't work, too much free content out there.
Yes the print media is in bad shape, but just how many websites do they realistically think people will subscribe to? It all depends on how much they charge. I see $5 as the monthly price point. I will not subscribe to any news website on a monthly basis if it's more than $5 a month. And I'm willing to bet it will be more than that.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 03:54 PM
Response to Original message
55. Only no strings government tax money can save the news business.
What the Free Market(tm) will do to it is perfectly clear.
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