Monday, May 16, 2005

NYTimes to charge for op-ed page

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The New York Times Co. on Monday said that, starting in September, access to Op-Ed and certain of its top news columnists on the paper's Web site will only be available through a fee of $49.95 a year. The service, known as TimesSelect, will also allow access to The Times's online archives, early access to select articles on the site, and other features. Home-delivery subscribers will automatically receive the service, the NYT said.

Would you pay $49.95 to read Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman? To quote my father I think I'd rather throw the money in the ocean - at least I'll have the satisfaction of hearing a splash. (Better yet, I'll change that into pennies and let my son practice throwing he can be a long relief pitcher for the Yanks someday...)

Oh. and top news columnists? - I might be wrong but I am not under the impression that many people buy/read a newspaper to follow certain columnists.

[FROM THE MONK:] I liked this comment by Jonah Goldberg, so I'll post it en toto:
Prediction: This will hurt the NYT immeasurably. Even if they get a satsifactory number of people to pay -- my doubt runneth over on this point -- the divide between liberals and conservatives will be enormous. The New York Times, which has been fighting -- or claiming to -- the image that it's a "blue state" newspaper will reinforce that impression to the nth degree. There are people in the world who will pay to read Krugman and Dowd (and in a more caring America their medication would be paid for by the government). But virtually none of them are conservatives. The Times op-ed page will become largely invisible to those who disagree with it. This will in turn only amplify the echo chamber effect. Krugman will think the country's coming to its senses because he'll stop getting hate mail. Poor David Brooks will mostly get harsh feedback (people who read print editions email reactions much, much less than e-readers). The Times' status as an agenda setter will drop as producers and scribblers will be less likely to be reading online (if they're smart, the Times will give out thousands of free electronic subsriptions to journalists).

Look, I want charging for web content to work. It'd help us a lot. But I am delighted the Times is the one charging the machine gun nest.

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