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Posted by on Jan 6, 2005 in At TMV | 0 comments

You May Have To Pay For The New York Times’ Online

This just in: you may soon have to pay for the New York Times’  online (which will be extra money for all the newspapers, broadcast and cable networks that still follow its choice of stories as The Newsworthy Ones):

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The New York Times Co. is considering subscription fees to the online version of its flagship newspaper, which now is available for free, but it has no immediate plans to do so, the company said on Friday.

One of the paper’s biggest rivals, Dow Jones & Co. Inc.’s Wall Street Journal, charges for its online edition. A New York Times spokeswoman said the company is reviewing whether it should make any business changes to the online version but that no shifts were imminent.

"We are reviewing the site to see whether or not there would be any areas where we should change the business model," said the spokeswoman, Catherine Mathis, adding: "This is not new. We’ve been discussing this for some time."

Our reaction: SO??!

There are actually a LOT of good newspapers and magazines out there online. The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, USA Today, big city Knight-Ridder papers such as the Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Tribune and foreign press don’t charge for reading their stories. Neither does one of the BEST, most underrated newspapers in the country — The Christian Science Monitor.

Part of using Times materials stems from the HABIT of the Times as somehow the First and Last Word paper of record.

For instance, Maureen Dowd (whose columns some may hate for her political stands, but she’s has a bit of the late, great Chicago columnist Mike Royko in her…and I have the collection of Royko columns that I periodically read to prove it). You can’t read it in the Times? SO? It’ll be syndicated to another newspaper.

A Times cover story. Can’t read it in the Times? SO? Look on the Internet you’ll find it elsewhere.

A major Times editorial that shakes the political world? SO? You will surely see a wire story on it.

As opposed to getting flabby fingers from just clicking one site for The Paper of Record, Internet users might have to take a tad more time searching.

But unless you ABSOUTELY MUST HAVE and CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT the Times brand fix, the Times charging will not mean The End Of The Internet World As We Know It.

It might, though, mean the end of some of the Time’s own influence….as other publications (wisely) jump in to fill its free Internet info gap.