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WITH FIVE DAYS TO GO, YOU CAN FIND A WHOLE LOT OF “HOW TO” ARTICLES ON GETTING AROUND THE TIMES’ PAYWALL
My last blog addressed why I don’t think even the most passionate of news lovers will want to pay for the NY Times online. Now, it turns out, no one really has to. And just today, The Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., admitted he created his paywall to be “purposely porous,” saying he thinks ”It’ll be mostly high school kids and people out of work,” before adding “I can’t believe I said that.”
“Can people go around the system?” Sulzberger asked during an appearance at The Paley Center for Media. “The answer is yes. There are going to be ways. Just as if you run down Sixth Avenue right now and you pass a newsstand and grab the paper and keep running you can actually get the Times free,” he said.
“We have to accept that, ” Sultzberger went on to say, explaining he doesn’t believe it’s going to be easy to do.
“Is it going to be done by the kind of people who buy the quality news and opinion of the New York Times? We don’t think so,” he said.
Perhaps Mr. Sultzberger doesn’t know his readers very well. Or perhaps he’s too old fashioned to know what’s going on online. I’d like to think I rank among “the kind of people who buy the quality news and opinion of the New York Times.” But everywhere I’ve looked today, I’ve learned how to jump the wall in quite a few different and imaginative ways. I’ve read one can “launder” The Times through Google. That’s when you cut and paste the NY Times headline into the Google search window and circumvent the wall.
You can delete the flash cookies from your computer as soon as you approach the article limit. There’s a @FreeNYTimes Twitter feed of all articles, something Forbes is reporting The Times has asked Twitter to take down. There is also @FreeNYT on Twitter and, I imagine, lots more to come. Read the rest of this entry »
Now, admittedly, I won’t have to: my daily newspaper subscription entitles me to free access online. I’m just sayin’, that if I was asked to, I wouldn’t. The New York Times, and every other publication, is going to have to figure out a more sensible business model. Company chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. is calling it one of the most significant days in the Times’s 159-year history: “Our decision to begin charging for digital access will result in another source of revenue, strengthening our ability to continue to invest in the journalism and digital innovation on which our readers have come to depend.”
I agree it’s a significant day for the New York Times. Only I think it day that will go down as the worst miscalculation of consumers in the company’s history. Sulzberger seems to believe the world is invested in good journalism. Sadly, they don’t care.
This isn’t a critique of the New York Times and what many see as its mistakes or declining standards over the past few years. This is not about Judith Millers’s war drums before the invasion of Iraq, or Jason Blair, or the embarrassment of the front page John McCain faux mistress story in the middle of the presidential campaign.
I believe the New York Times, on balance, is still an outstanding newspaper, worthy of its many Pulitzer prizes. Their obituaries of the 9/11 victims, focusing on who they were as people instead of what they did for living, was a defining moment in journalism. Their science, health and medical reporting is in a league of its own. Their willingness to take on pharmaceutical companies separates them from network news which has become co-dependent. Tom Friedman, Maureen Down, Paul Krugman, I love them even when I don’t love them. I will miss Frank Rich.
After all, a brilliant mind, even one with whom you disagree, is a terrible thing to waste. Which brings me back to the wacky decision to charge for the New York Times online.
WILL CONSUMERS PAY FOR NEWS ONLINE? JUST ASK RECORD EXECS HOW CHARGING FOR DOWNLOADS IS WORKIN’ FOR THEM? Read the rest of this entry »