Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Times Select

Times Select Redux

I amused myself yesterday cruising the blogosphere for reactions to the NY Times’s decision to charge for some of its content. Generally I would have hoped lefty bloggers to be tougher, but many of them were squealing like recently deflowered virgins.

They were shocked…shocked…to find out that newspapers felt they had a right to be paid for their wares. One blogger, I’ll spare you her name, was outraged that on top of her 40 grand tuition bill she would now have to pay to read Krugman on line.

Well, it’ll be a hardship all right. She’ll have to go out to a news stand and buy a copy of the paper once a week…twice a week if she wants to read Maureen Dowd, too. Or she could go to the college library, or any library most likely, and read them for free. Or aren’t they worth the effort?

Here in Tucson it’ll cost a buck a week (total) to buy the Arizona Daily Star on the days those columns run. (They won’t be on line in the Star, either.)

In The Meantime The News is Still Free

Well, almost all of it. Tricky business, here. Op-Ed columnists like Krugman don’t make stuff up out of whole cloth. Their opinions are grounded in facts that they point in our direction. I admit it’s arguable that we may be more poorly informed without them.

But most of the Times reportage is still on line and still free. And I’m pretty sure that we can count on activist bloggers to point us in the direction of material in our favorite columnists’ offerings.

More important to me is the fact that the entire NYT archive is going to be available to me (100 hits a month) for the price of my annual subscription.

A Changing Business Model

It may be that in 20 years dead tree editions of newspapers will be niche products and that most reporting will be on line. When that happens you can be sure that we’ll be asked to ‘subscribe’ to the online versions. And who could complain? No, really, who could complain? I’d like to hear from my many reader about this.

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