Necessary Evil, New York Times Online Goes Premium


Yes, it’s finally happening. The internet world is buzzing with news about NY Times’ (NYT) paid subscription access to their online content. On March 28th you will no longer have full access to their online articles. They are offering 20 articles per month at no cost. It’s really nothing. Avid followers of the news know that sometimes you go through 20 articles a day to stay connected to the world. TechCrunch did a nice write up about the pricing and other details about NYT’s move to paywall model, so I defer you to that article for more information.

Do I like paying for news? Absolutely not. Will I pay for news? Absolutely yes, but for quality news; not some random website rewriting news.

Let’s get something straight. Nobody wants to pay to read the news. People are used to free stuff; maybe a little too much. We take free content for granted. We go as far as comparing quality journalism content (NYT, WSJ, etc.) to lower-end content farms (Examiner, AC, etc.).

The “news” you read on blogs and content farms isn’t really news. They are rewrites of news articles and video reportage. They DO NOT have people on the ground reporting from the locations, they do not always have proper training, and they lack editor’s oversight. They simply read/watch/listen to the news and write up their own version of the stories.

The NYT (I use NYT as an example, but this applies to all legitimate news organizations) has a huge overhead. As print subscriptions decline and more advertisers use social media to reach their customers, NYT’s profits are declining. They reported 26 percent decline in their profits in the fourth quarter of last year.

You’ve heard the news about their staffers in Libya. Their journalists risk their own lives to report news from around the world, from locations that you would never dare to go to. Yet, we want free news. No, we demand free news. How will they pay expenses associated with having journalists around the world report the news if they keep losing money? Every business person knows that you can’t do business if you can’t pay the expenses. The debt increases and you go bankrupt. In the case of news media, they can’t go bankrupt and stop reporting news. Millions, if not billions, of people, rely on their reportage. Millions of people rely on it to be able to write about it for other services and their own blogs. For some, it’s a full-time income.

I wonder why they didn’t implement a paywall earlier. The content farms that rely on rewrites of news stories are profiting at an expense of legitimate, high-quality journalism while diluting the quality and integrity of journalism. No more freebies for content farms, pay!

It’s sickening to my stomach to hear people compare, Demand Media websites, and other content farms to legitimate news sources such as NYT. They are not the same, not even in the same zip code.

Paying for quality news is supporting journalism. Advertising revenue, in the social media age, is not enough to do their job right. People complain about unemployment. Well, paying for the news is keeping all those employees working. They need a job just like everyone else, and to do their job takes quite a bit of money. Especially when they risk their lives to report the news while you’re drinking coffee in the morning at home.

It’s not that expansive. I’m a student and I already have a subscription to NYT, which gives me access to their online content once it moves behind the pay wall on the 28th.

Stop being cheap. Maybe a few fewer coffees, beers, and less eating out will free up your budget to pay a nominal fee to get quality news.

Sorry for a rant. But I had to say it. What do you think? What’s your excuse for not paying? Will you pay?

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Viktor Nagornyy

Viktor Nagornyy

For the past 14 years, Viktor has worked with businesses of all sizes, helping them generate more leads and sales through an effective inbound marketing strategy and conversion-optimized websites while increasing marketing efficiency with marketing automation tools and tactics. Follow on Mastodon:

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