After months (and months, and months) of enduring Rupert Murdoch’s noise and the news industry’s anti-Google rhetoric (including accusations of vampirism), we learned today that The New York Times will charge for content beginning in 2011. Their plan is to allow a limited number of articles on NYTimes.com to be accessed for free each month, and a fee will be charged for unlimited access. Seems as reasonable as any paid content scheme, which is to say it’s fraught with problems, but hey power to ’em for finally putting their money where their mouth is.
And thank God!
Ever since Murdoch began yammering about this I prayed the news industry would follow his lead. Like most people, I will never, ever, pay to read articles on NYTimes.com or any other website, so this kind of thing is exactly what I need to keep from inadvertently consuming news, which has brought me nothing but heartache and misery.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to know what’s going on in the world, but I can do without the “in depth reporting” and “insightful analysis”. Usually a few words (y’know, like those found in a tweet) is sufficient to let me know what’s happening. I don’t need the high definition photos either; a shot from a camera phone is just fine. The vast majority of “news” articles out there are just so much blather. Am I a better person for “being informed”? Nope. Would I have acted differently if I hadn’t “been informed” during those years I was addicted to news? Probably not.
Sure, keeping up on current affairs, analyzing them, and debating the issues is a nice exercise for the brain, but unless you have some direct connection to the story that’s pretty much all it is. You’d be better off trading in the New York Times for Sartre, Camus, or Lao-Tzu.
And let’s face it, most of us, most of the time, don’t have that direct connection with news stories. Will your familiarity with the current health care debate cause you to take actions you wouldn’t otherwise have taken? Do your daily obligations change depending on Obama’s standing in the polls? Has Google’s decision on China resulted in any change in your behavior? I’m guessing the answer is no.
I say good riddance, NYT. Hopefully other news organizations will follow suit and the internet will be cleansed of their drivel.