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May 16, 2005

One Last Times

Via Atrios, it looks like the Times is going to lock Brooks, Krugman, Herbert, Tierney and the rest of their gang of wacky op-ed writers behind a subscription wall:

The New York Times Co. (NYT) on Monday said that, starting in September, access to Op-Ed and certain of its top news columnists on the paper's NYTimes.com 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.

Ouch. I like making fun of Brooks as much as the next guy, but it's not the sort of pleasure I'd pay $50 a year to retain. And, indeed, I've a sneaking feeling few others will, either. Awhile back, I argued that the NYT couldn't go subscription because it had too many competitors offering exactly the same service for free. Were they to demand $10 for me to read their news, I'd simply redirect my mail over to the Washington Post's site and that'd be that. I guess Bill Keller realized that too, which is why he decided to hide the paper's single idiosyncratic bit, its op-ed columnists.

But I fear his decision rests on some inaccurate information. Blogospheric laziness has given the Times' op-ed columnists a must-read status they really don't deserve. Brooks and Tierney are widely linked, but only because they're easily demolished when you've just woken up and have nothing original to say. Krugman's nice enough, but his arguments generally ricochet through the blogosphere days, or even weeks, before he makes them. So who's left? Kristof? Herbert? Dowd? Rich? It's just not worth the cost.

I'd guess that the hits and discussion generated by the Times' op-ed writers convinced the paper's higher-ups that their opinion page was a must-read and people would follow it behind a subscription wall. They're wrong. The Washington Post has a great op-ed lineup with a terrible site layout, and the LA Times has an occasionally decent piece with a marginally better html scheme. Give them a web designer and the two could easily supplant the NYT's spot as the go-to op-ed source because, in the end, we're not really looking to read the writers, we're simply searching for a stupid or brilliant paragraph that we can write about, and those paragraphs, unfortunately for the Times, can be found most anywhere you look. Till now, searching for them on Keller's sheet was the blogosphere's habit. Demand a toll for it, however, and that habit will instantly change.

May 16, 2005 in Media | Permalink

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» No More Krugman, No More Brooks.... from Political Animal
NO MORE KRUGMAN, NO MORE BROOKS....The New York Times is planning to put its op-ed page behind a subscription wall? Wow. I predict that's going to go down with New Coke as one of the all-time bad marketing decisions in... [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2005 2:17:09 PM

» Subscribe to Maureen Dowd? from Snarkmarket
Meh. Pretty much the only one I'll miss is Kristof. Krugs, occasionally. The NYT's announced a decision to charge for the op-ed page online, and bloggers are already saying their sayonaras. (This will be on Every Blog in the World... [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2005 3:48:54 PM

» NYT: We Don't Want People to Read Our Op-Ed Columnists from The Importance of...
At least that seems to be the strategy. According to MarketWatch (NYT.com to charge for Op-Ed, other content as of Sept):The New York Times Co. (NYT) on Monday said that, starting in September, access to Op-Ed and certain of its... [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2005 4:09:47 PM

» N.Y. Times Op-Ed Going Subscription :: from The Haze Filter
Josh Marshall had the link to the Ezra Klein piece about the N.Y. Times going to a subscription service in September. I look forward to reading Krugman and Herbert and I read the others, including Brooks, but if I have... [Read More]

Tracked on May 16, 2005 8:42:02 PM

» Times' Dumb Idea from Shakespeare's Sister
As regular Shakers might have noticed, I’m not big on reading columnists, anyway, and it’s mainly because they’re usually writing about shit at least a week after I have and being far less interesting about it (read: no snark or cus... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 11:49:54 AM

» Are They Nuts? from Freiheit und Wissen
...No one in their right mind would pay $50 for the privilege of reading Brooks, Tierney, Friedman, and Dowd... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 3:28:13 PM

» Would you pay to read Krugman? from UNCoRRELATED
Recent surveys are nothing but bad news for the newspaper industry as subscriptions go into a freefall all over the country. Its panic mode as even the big dailies announce major overhauls of their marketing and sales programs. The New... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 7:42:41 PM

» New York Times to charge for Op-Eds from QandO
Ezra Klein, I think, has the keenest take on this story, from a simple economic point of view... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2005 6:13:08 AM

Comments

Brooks and Tierney are widely linked, but only because they're easily demolished when you've just woken up and have nothing original to say.

That's about right.

Posted by: John | May 16, 2005 1:55:10 PM

Being able to read Brooks and Tierney is not even with $0.49. I just hope BlogLand allows us access to Krugman's excellent op-eds.

Posted by: pgl | May 16, 2005 2:14:00 PM

What's funny is that this is backwards from the WSJ, which makes you pay for their news but gives you their editorials and op-eds for free. Of course, on the WSJ, it's the news that is high quality.

If they got one more center-left columnist with some substance I would pay $50 a year. And I'm sure they'd create some kind of student discount program.

Posted by: Electoral Math | May 16, 2005 2:14:31 PM

This is exactly right. The comparative advantage of the Times' columnists over Joe Blogger is ... well, there isn't any. This is idiotic.

Posted by: praktike | May 16, 2005 2:16:08 PM

I'll miss Maureen. I know I'm the only one, but I'll still miss her.

-----

It's an odd move, and I'd assume it can't persist as is. Either it'll be rescinded, or the whole paper will go subscription only.

And people can try to shrug it off all they want, but subscription walls are an ominous storm cloud hovering over the blogosphere's future. The future could end up looking like Drudge, with everyone linking only to Reuters.

Posted by: Petey | May 16, 2005 2:37:34 PM

I'm sorry praktike and Ezra, but this isn't exactly right. It's not as simple as saying "what's good for blogs is good for the NYT." It is an open question how the Times, or anyone that publishes content on the Web, can best tell who is reading their pages because it is "must read" material and who is reading it so that they can link it on their blogs in order to trash it.

It's not just a matter of counting the link-backs, because the majority of Web users still don't read blogs and could give a good god damn what any of us say about the latest op-ed. Either the blogosphere is overstating its importance and value, or the Times knows something about its non-blog-aware readership. I'd bet on the former.

Posted by: diddy | May 16, 2005 2:43:01 PM

Amen, amen, amen. Well said, Ezra.

Posted by: David Yaseen | May 16, 2005 3:26:09 PM

I read a lot of newspapers online, but I also read one to three paper ones daily and all of these guys are syndicated. So I have to wait a day to get the full version of Krugman. I will know the key parts by then anyway through the miracle of cut and paste.

Posted by: Bruce Webb | May 16, 2005 3:40:03 PM

All is blog, diddy. All is blog. Bow before the blogosphere, NOW!

Posted by: praktike | May 16, 2005 4:08:18 PM

David Brooks is for sissies. He's either plain wrong not making sense (in other words, "not even wrong").

Debunking Krauthammer is far more of a challenge. Krauthammer is truly diabolical. He will pimp for the Repubs by using false logic and leaving out facts in a way that implies he knows he's lying and pimping for the repubs.

He's the Sith master of Op/Eds.

Posted by: jasper emmering | May 16, 2005 4:19:47 PM

Er, um, I think you're giving Dr. K. a lot more credit than he deserves. I've never found his pieces all that impressive. You can invariably tell where a Krauthammer screed's going to end up after the first paragraph. At least George Will surprises me from time to time....

As to the NY Times' subscription barrier -- sure, why not? The "paper of record" is living off old glories anyway; it may as well veer away from the future.

Posted by: sglover | May 16, 2005 5:09:06 PM

Krugman has been accessible for quite a while here:

Krugman Archive

Little is that time-sensitive or urgent that it can't wait the few hours or so until it is posted there.

Posted by: voxd | May 16, 2005 6:41:46 PM

Whil you can now go somewhere else for free don't expect that to last. Wall St. Journal already charges and many of these companies I know as I work in that industry are looking to make up the money from the declines in circulation through charges on the web. The times may be first but the Times Media company owns many other papers across the country as well as the IHT.

I would guess that once the flood gates are opened the ones the Times owns as well as others will move in this direction. I belive the NY Times has 3.5 Million subscribers to its online edition if they were to get even 1/6 of those subscribers who will pay that will be huge. Also print subscribers get this access for free as part of their subscription.

Posted by: Adam | May 16, 2005 7:05:57 PM

if you were krugman or dowd, would you stay with the times if your columns went behind a subscription wall? op-ed writers naturally want to have their opinions read as widely as possible. if they're subscripton only, they won't matter. if it happens, the times will lose their better op-ed writers, and maybe even david brooks as well.

Posted by: snuh | May 16, 2005 7:18:16 PM

The thing the NY Times hasn't thought about is that other paper pick up their editorials. Those will be available to anyone who wants them.

Posted by: Judy | May 16, 2005 7:19:51 PM

From an Business section article Saturday; won't quote but paraphrase the highlights:

the Dallas Morning News circulation in the six month period ending Mar 31 2005 declined 9.6% daily and 13.2% Sunday

Big newspapers are dying before your eyes. You won't believe it until they are gone, or simply a tiny shell around some classifieds.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | May 16, 2005 8:32:39 PM

What are these guys doing? They're dooming themselves to being obsoltete. Maybe it'll increase their subscription rate in the immediate area, but it's going to kill them on a national level.

Are they in that much trouble? Or are they just being greedy...some might say..hubristic?

Posted by: Karmakin | May 17, 2005 12:00:54 AM

Sglover-

I agree with you that Krauthammer is a most predictable hack. I even agree that it's usually also pretty easy to say why he is wrong.

But if you take the trouble to debunk not his general point but his specific arguments, you'll find that he is evil. You can always be sure that he has left out important facts and distorted the rest. It's only possible to write a Krauthammer column if you're absolutely dishonest.

Krauthammer's not some clueless idiot like Brooks (or Friedman for that matter) who inflate random factoids into sociological nonsense.

George Will may surprise you from time to time. But Krauthammer surprises me every single time! Because once you fact-check hiss ass, the depravity always runs a little deeper than you'd expected at first glance.

Posted by: jasper emmering | May 17, 2005 3:41:03 PM

Wouldn't it be fantastic if all of the NYT columnists developed blogs just so their voices could be relevant again?

Posted by: MattSchiavenza | May 18, 2005 12:32:27 AM

In this situation, the runner posts(shows) an impertinent physical condition, while the others sink into the effort. At the conclusion of the journey(running) this runner shows an exceptional state of coolness, as if he had crossed(gone through) only some kilometres.

Posted by: starcycle | Jan 25, 2007 7:56:00 AM

This book reassembles the selection liked better images of Michel , realized
between 1984 and 1999 in Champaign.
Natural landscapes, villages and vineyard table-centre, lights and seized
writings, those clichés assemble two and two , for best to describe the
variety and the beauty of champagne horizons.

This book is assigned to all that who love to depart discovering of France,
of his regions and of his products.
Securities who is then to cross-roads of numerous rubrics :
journeys, gastronomy, enology, culture, tourism, regions, vines, vineyards and
wines.

Posted by: champagne | Jan 27, 2007 11:39:49 AM


It is badly:O Faut not to think that the experiment of the licence conveys, if it is necessary, could be of an unspecified help. :oui: The control of the motor bike is very different. :bah: Sporting of 106cv (in France) it is: - a part cycles hyper especially rigid made for the circuits, most recent which were radicalized - performances graying, but inaccessible for the commun run of the new licences, and even certain motorcyclists of long date. - a braking of madness which will not in particular forgive the approximations on wet ground. - a bike made to roll quickly and where all encourages to roll quickly... And that requires obligatorily experiment, in more than one balance of intact points on the licence - a position of control parfois/souvent incompatible with the use of a motor bike of tous.les.jours. - an insurance which will coutera as expensive as a CB500 of bargain of 50.000km, perfect to begin. It is also: - a progression in the training of the motor bike completely directed towards a bike of which the use first is the circuit... The motorbike licence is made to roll on the road. - a bike completely incompatible with puerile moods of young a 22 years licence:bah: - the error to be made is to think that one knows already and that one will be in the future to keep the cold head. - They IS FALSE!

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 15, 2007 1:34:47 PM

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