Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Newspaper or Other: Give Us Money

How deeply precious!

The New York Times announced on Wednesday that it would charge some frequent readers for access to its Web site ... Starting in January 2011, a visitor to will be allowed to view a certain number of articles free each month; to read more, the reader must pay a flat fee for unlimited access.
Really, that is adorable, just adorable. It calls to mind the vivid accounts of King Alfred's court, where a young Æthelflæd paraded around with her infant sister, Ælfthryth, charging courtiers pocket-coins for baby's kisses.

To the geniuses at the NY Times who have conceived this fee-for-content scheme:
Put your nose down and pay attention to your work, because there's not one thing you've done here that I couldn't live without. You're good. Get better. Stop asking for things.
Don Draper's admonishment is probably too kind to the New York Times, but it will do for now.



Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

But if they don't make us pay more for it then print will die, and then The Oregonian won't be able to lie to us via spadea any more.

And with them helping the people who want to make us poor and keep us poor, where the hell do they think we're going to get the money to pay for access to the Times?

Laura said...

Um, not to be a pain, but...

Back in the day, people had to actually buy newspapers in order to read them. Why should it suddenly become free?

I mean, I would love for it to be free, but just the simple fact that the internet exists does not change the fact that those pesky reporters refuse to work for free.

Your condescension is sorely out of place. Do you call it "adorable" that publishers demand that you give them money in order to receive a copy of their books? That Kraft demands money before you get a box of its mac and cheese?

If you just personally dislike the NYT, I suppose that's one thing. But your title suggests that you seem to think that all newspapers should just be free, which doesn't make any sense and is frankly impossible.

Dale said...

Laura, you're not a pain, or not much of one. ;-)

I assert no right to read the NYT or any newspaper free of charge. Since it's there, I do from time to time. This is -- quite literally -- infinitely more than I read its content before it went online, because before it was zero.

The NYT doesn't have to have a web presence at all, and the world doesn't owe it a profitable one. If it can't make enough money from the ads it presents to its readers, then I suppose this is plan B. I won't be participating in plan B.

If you care --- and you're not required to --- I wrote a more serious take on my view of "the death of journalism" a few months back: here.

Dale said...

SJKP, an effective plutocrat, and by extension, an effective stenographer for a plutocrat, doesn't know or concern himself with where or how the people he's fleecing will replenish. That's someone else's problem.

Ginx said...

Back in the day, people had to actually buy newspapers in order to read them. Why should it suddenly become free?

Online advertising more than pays for the salaries of writers, but it doesn't cover the cost of paying executives who essentially do nothing but make decisions about pricing. The "cost" of a newspaper covers the price of paper and ink, which is not something online news articles have to deal with.

This decision will be reversed when no one reads their online content anymore and people stop advertising on their site. Then, the guy who thought of it will be fired, solving the entire dilemma.