Monday, March 28, 2011

The NY Times Paywall

I am disappointed with the subscription plan recently announced by the New York Times.

Don't get me wrong -- I love the NYT. If I had to subscribe to only one newspaper, it would be the NYT.

But in this day and age I don't have to subscribe to any single news source. That's what's great about this age, and that's the problem.

When I was in graduate school at Stony Brook I used to love, during warm weather, walking across the railroad tracks to the local deli, buying a chicken salad sandwich and a knish and a copy of the New York Times, and walking over to the track of the local private school and sitting up in the bleachers reading the paper and eating dinner by myself. I guess I was a bit of a loner then. I guess I still am.

But these days I don't get my news from any single source -- I get it from all over, via the Web. This is a great thing.

But the Times disgital subscription doesn't recognize that. At several hundred dollars a year, it acts like my newspaper is still tossed onto my driveway every morning.

Those days are past.

Yes, I want to read Krugman and Douthat and Alessandra Stanley. I want to read their sports columinsts.

But I want to read lots of other people, too. And the NYT people aren't that great (except for maybe Krugman) that I want to read them at the exclusion of all other people on the Web, especially when all these other people put up paywalls as well.

I want good journalists to get paid. I want good newspapers to survive. But I also want to read all over the place. I'd pay about $30-40/month to read newspapers across the Web, but not to read just one of them. Those days are over in the era of the hyperlink.

I will miss clicking thoughtlessly on the NYT button in my bookmarks. I hope that in some fashion they succeed. But not, perhaps, in this fashion.

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