Goodbye New York Times

By Duganz

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, the Old Grey Lady committed suicide this morning following the announcement of the worst idea ever. She was 159 years old.

And while we mourn her passing let us always remember what she stood for:

  • Using Mr. and Mrs. for all names, including the singer Meatloaf, or, in New York Times style: Mr. Loaf
  • The Times New Roman font
  • Hiding info about that whole Holocaust thing
  • A liberal slant that in ski terms would be “double black diamond”
  • The lies of Judith Miller (thanks for the Iraq War you water carrying puppet!)
  • The Pentagon Papers
  • “Fuddy-duddy-ness”

Always a staunch supporter of “old media” — even from a time when lesser papers of record were using those new fangled “photographs” — the New York Times today announced an online plan that will surely be the end of it. The plan is to bilk consumers for a product they can get from other sources for free, like, say, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Alternet, Rachel Maddow, the Associated Press, the New Yorker, Newsweek, Time, Harper’s, The Economist, The Week, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo! Sports, Politico, Talking  Points Memo, Twitter, the New York Daily News, the LA Times, Google, and, oddly enough, Fox News Channel (which is always obsessed with the New York Times).

Beginning March 28 you will be allowed to read 20 articles for free. After that you will need to pay a monthly fee for the New York Times. Fees are as follows: $15 for phone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry), $20 for Tablet/PC, or $35 for all devices.

Are they serious? Yeah. They think in the world of the internet they can charge that much and still grab the average consumer.

News flash: They can’t. They’ve lost me, and I am “an average consumer.” I make about half of the median income for a US household. You can’t get more average than that. So believe me when I say that the NYT has priced itself outside of the average consumer’s range. And it’s not that we can’t afford it. We can. But it’s the willingness to pay for a product that is recreate elsewhere for free, often with better prose.

The internet has already damaged “old media” because it was too slow to react. My wife is a photographer and gets mad whenever blogs use copyright images in non-fair use ways, or without attribution. I completely agree with her on this, by the way. It’s wrong to steal images, or to quote the entirety of an article. But old media could have solved this issue years ago with simple webcoding, and image alterations. Plenty of sites do this already where you can’t copy an image from the page, and you can’t copy text. It’s freaking simple, but I always hear from friends still in the media about how butt-hurt they are when these things happen.

The NYT gets poached a lot because it’s a damn good paper. And years of this poaching have hurt the company’s profits. So now we as the consumer are being punished for their incompetence. And that’s all it is: pure incompetence.

Had the New York Times Company wanted to they could have made their product too cheap to pass up. Here’s some math:

400,000 subscribers at $20 a month is $800,000

6million subscribers at $5 a month is $30million.

I would guarantee that 6million number compared to the 400,000 one. But we shall see. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe consumers will trip over one another to toss money in NYT‘s hat. I doubt it, but it may happen. And, to be fair, my estimate of 400,000 is aiming high. Ken Doctor over at NiemanJournalismLab thinks 300,000 is a better estimate.

Between iTunes and the Kindle/Nook the market has spoke. $10 is what consumers expect to pay for cool things. That’s it. $10. Born to Run? $10. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest? $10.

So, goodbye New York Times. At your current revenue level you’ll be forced to make more and more cuts, and put out a shittier and shittier product until people stop reading completely. You had a chance. Then you blew it.


  1. Goooood Riddddance to Capitalist Rubbish. i quit this Capitalist rag years ago… but i will admit there was a time when you had to pay … and i did… a few months later they changed …and maybe this time they’ll just dry up and blow away.
    There are so many better and faster On-line rags: from Press TV, Aljazerra, WSWS/World Socialist Web Site, War is a Lie, for investigative journalism there’s Daily Censored, Global Research, CLG, Mathaba, NO ONE needs the NY Times except to line Capitalist Bird Cages.

  2. JC

    Well, there goes their student contingent. My daughter has a class in international relations at the U, and the Times was one of the 6 required (free) online news sources to read and quote in assignments. I looked, and saw no student rates.

    FWIW, the Times was the one source she chose to read on a daily basis. And she just can’t afford another monthly fee to keep it up. It’ll be interesting to see what the classes replace it with.

    Sadly, the Times has chosen to paywall off an upcoming generation of readers. Sure, there’ll be some free content, but it’s not the 20 free monthly articles, or front page content that is important. It’s the indepth reading that our youngsters need to be plugging into to become an informed generation.

    Just as crazy is the Times’ new policy of allowing links in from FaceBook to be free. Anybody look at the quality of most news stories posted there? Let’s let free news get filtered through social media outlets… yeah, right.

    I know this is hyperbole, but their FB policy smacks of the TMZ’ing of the news.

    What else is going to fail? All of the writers/bloggers (like Krugman) who write for free. So now the Times gets to profit off of their freely contributed work. Wonder how long Paul and the others are going to stick around behind a paywall with plunging readership and no ability for the rest of the world to link to their works?

    Additionally, with the blogs at the Times, while annoying like everywhere, lively debate in the comments spurs lots of interesting thoughts and debates. The paywall will definitely keep those more critical of the Times’ bent from participating. It’d be like us charging Big Ingy and Coobs and others to come in here and comment so we can beat up on them. They just wouldn’t do it.

    There’s gotta be a better model, or better pricing structure. What the Times is giving us is sure to severely cripple their online presence. And the right laughs and applauds.

  3. Kpkptrng

    I don’t know – something’s got to give. They cannot continue to give away their product and survive. They’ve been behind the curve to this time. Maybe they are out ahead? It could be like one airline charging for baggage, and all the others except Southwest, following suit.

    You might be thinking desktop or laptop, but NYT is likely thinking IPad and all the clones to come. That is the future.

    I like the news coverage I get from Al Jazeera, and so voluntarily send them money each month. If people like a product, they’ll pay.

    • As Robgar says below, it’s not the pay portion that’s bothersome. It’s the amount. I got tagged over at my Facebook page on the fact that you can subscribe to the print edition for cheaper than these prices, and then you get the e-editions for free.

      But I don’t really do paper publications anymore. Haven’t for years now. They’re attempting to target me, and people like me, but they’re going too high, too soon. And they’re going to get burned.

  4. I tend to agree with Duganz on this. I don’t think the model is bad per se. But the pricing is higher than most are likely willing to pay.

    Then again, I’m a cheapskate when it comes to these things. I just get my fix from the blogs who quote and analyze the content.

    • Kpkptrng

      OK weasel. Let’s have this out.

      Several years ago I was just a commenter. I did not have a blog, did not understand IP’s, and hardly knew you at all. At that time your blog was a busy place, and I occasionally chimed in, using my own name.

      You went to special pains to make up a name, “Monty”, and then claim that I was a troll, had faked that name, had said bad things about you. You were hurt, you wrote bad prose about how it hurt to be defamed by someone you thought you knew.

      I was shaken, as I was not Monty. I didn’t know how such a thing could have happened. It took me several years to understand that you were Monty, and that you had separated me out from the crown for special treatment. You deliberately defamed me. You faked a troll comment, said I had done it. Why?

      I didn’t know you at the time. I thought you were just this guy. I tried to defend myself, but as you well knew, the more I did so, the guiltier I looked. You knew this. My son was involved. He thought I had done this thing. It hurt. It hurt badly. You hit hard and at the center of my life, my family.

      Then, over the years, you would drag out the Monty incident whenever we got into it, whenever you felt you were losing. Each time, I would have to defend myself, and look guilty.

      I don’t like you. People think it’s an ego thing, but it’s not. It’s you, and what you did. It was purely mean and ugly.

      I think that the pleasure you took in it, the fact that you did not own up to it until I harangued you to the point where you finally begrudgingly said yeah, you did it, and passed it off as some kind of joke – all that to means to me one thing that I feel more than I know – that you are a sociopath. You take special care to be something special on the blogs, and saw in me years ago some kind of threat.

      I both pity you and despise you. I only ask now … why?

      People think we antagonize one another because we both have large egos. Mine is in check. People often get the best of me, and that is as it should be. You? Have you got some kind of problem?

      • Mark, I never attacked you. I never set you up. You and I just disagree and you seem incapable of giving it a rest. You don’t like me and I don’t give a shit. Suffer in silence. Quit polluting every other website with your spite, ‘kay?

      • It’s come to my attention Mark that you are using another person’s email address. Using a real person’s contact to as cover is wrong, and, I feel, unethical. You are, in essence, besmirching an innocent bystander so you are free to demean others.

        It’s the kind of thing I won’t tolerate.

        I am banning you from my future threads until you contact me otherwise. I would recommend the same for my fellow b-birders.

  5. I don’t know either of you personally but came along and happened to make a simple comment a couple times and had Mr. Kailey jump in my shit with name-calling and complete disrespect that had nothing to do with the subject being discussed. I have no idea what his problem is. I suspect it’s high blood pressure or some other hormonal problem.

  6. Hi. I’m the author of this post. It’s about the New York Times’ new subscription fees. It has nothing to do with the ongoing Mark vs. Rob feud, or the Rob vs. Mark feud.

    Rob, Mark, CosmicG, please take this beef to a relevant thread.

  7. I have removed a comment by Mark T. per my policy of deleted Mark T. until he contacts me with a reason to treat him otherwise. His latest move is to change his email address, and claim that I’m a liar.

    Mark was posting with an email address hosted by wobbly.com. The address didn’t exist. I know this because I sent an email last night only to be contacted by Bruce at Wobbly.com asking me who Rob was, and to assure me he has no beefs with any Robs.

    Nice try Mark.




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