NYT to Charge for Content. Thank God!

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.

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NYT to Charge for Content. Thank God!

2 thoughts on “NYT to Charge for Content. Thank God!

  1. Voidious says:

    Sadly, I highly doubt this means we will stop hearing about the issue. 😦

    It’s not like the NYT doesn’t offer something of value. It’s just that the value, in today’s environment, is an order of magnitude (or more) less than what they wish it was.

    Most newspapers probably lost their edge long before the internets came along to bury them; they just had a strong enough incumbent force to carry their profits for years. Now that circumstances have forced the issue, any shred of innovation has already left their business management and they are just fucked.

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  2. Good points bro. You’re right, there is definitely some value there but not as much as they think (hope). It ‘s similar to the way music has value but doesn’t necessarily warrant purchasing an $18 compact disc. There are so many ways to get free news online it’s just mind-boggling for them to think they can charge for it. I’d go so far as to say that the value of a physical newspaper does not lie in the content itself, but in other more ephemeral qualities. For example, people like the smell of a fresh newspaper, or the ritual to flipping through it during morning coffee.

    I think your second point is right on the money, and again this mirrors the music industry. It seems that the seeds of their demise were planted long ago and are only now coming to light. I’ll be curious to see if this “tablet revolution” will have any effect on their business, assuming the revolution is really happening of course.

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