January 20, 2010

"[T]rustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism, which is an increasingly rare and precious thing."

What Bill Keller, the executive editor of the NYT, says the NYT does and cites as the reason we should accept being required to pay to read it — which we will have to do, starting in 2011.

There will be some free access, but it looks like it will be something like 10 articles a month. That is, unless you pay, the NYT will disappear as a significant news site. Will a blogger like me be able to link to and discuss articles? It will be quite awkward, and it will deter me from reading the articles in the first place. As an individual, if I didn't blog, I would pay for access to the NYT, but I do blog, and I will be reading as a blogger, that is, reading things I might link to.

62 comments:

Eric Rasmusen said...

It's their newspaper, but though this might be profitable, and will be in the short run for sure, it will diminish their influence drastically. Or maybe not. Fewer bloggers will be pointing out NYT mistakes now.

John Lynch said...

We'll see if they make it to 2011.

Kevin said...

The smokestacks of SS New York Times are now almost underwater...

Greg Toombs said...

I guess we'll have to use floating cookies or IP addresses or some such to dodge the gatekeepers.

Assuming I want to want to bother wading through the NYT's Democratic Party spin in every effing article.

Awesome said...

You're a big shot! If I was running things I would make a deal with big shots like you: free subscriptions and all incoming links from your blog are free. It might tempt your readers to subscribe.

Nichevo said...

I think 10 a month is enough to read all the good Dining & Wine pieces, plus the occasional obit and the odd Science Times piece.

And to think how they rammed free/cheap subscriptions down our throat at Bronx Science...wonder how that sells now.

It's like Golda Meir said...I'm not mad at the lies and such, so much, but how they've lowered themselves!

rhhardin said...

It underscores the value of what we do — trustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism, which is an increasingly rare and precious thing,” Mr. Keller said.

News from the media bubble.

Palladian said...

What? No more aggressively reported articles about bedscarves and business shorts and the growing trend (up to 12 people already!) of the urban caveman lifestyle?!

What will we do?!

Palladian said...

And as far as the "news" content, doesn't the DNC supply their press releases for free? Why pay the middle man?

G Joubert said...

I's been going on now for over 15 years so I'm no longer amazed at the myriad ways the dead tree media has from the very beginning so profoundly misunderstood the internet age and its culture, underestimated its scope and reach, and the way it has repeatedly miscalculated its response to it. It's just flat too late for them now.

vbspurs said...

Greg Toombs wrote:

I guess we'll have to use floating cookies or IP addresses or some such to dodge the gatekeepers.

That's a good idea, although anonymising services are sometimes another way to go (but you have time/page limits with them too).

We can also rejigger how we read the NYT. Instead of going to read the NYT first thing in the morning (if that's what we do), just check out Memeorandum/Althouse to see if they link to them first.

That way we don't waste our precious 10 articles per monat, which I will guard like glowing pearls in the clams of knowledge.

Cheers,
Victoria

Angst said...

I'm OK with theirs decision - as long as they continue to provide their "Corrections" for free.

That alone is entertainment.

bwebster said...

This just means that I'll treat the NYT the same way I treat the WSJ -- I'll scan the front page for headlines, and I'll read those articles that (a) interest me and (b) aren't 'behind the wall'.

I will miss the Science and Technology sections, which are my favorite parts of the NYT.

AJ Lynch said...

Palladian asked about the pre-written Dem press releases.

Come on, be fair- it takes an "aggressive, professional journalist to get the hang of Microsoft cut and paste".

Pogo said...

Trustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism is indeed an increasingly rare and precious thing.

Why the NYTimes believes they can be so described is as yet a mystery, however.

More like mendacious, aggressively partisan, elitist journalism.

Mary said...

Relax. I'm sure they'll offer you a free subscription, for your blogging services.

They understand you've got an extra mouth at home to feed these days...

WV: bilyproo
Sounds like a toilet cleaning product. Meade?

Pogo said...

Oh great, Mary the irritable bowel syndrome of Althouse.blogspot.com.

Mary, I advise an increase in fiber intake.

rdkraus said...

Classic liberal mindset.

A plan (program) fails (they have tried this before).

So, do the same thing and expect different results.

Yes, if we just pour buckets more $$$$ into those Wash DC schools, that will fix them.

Tibore said...

"[T]rustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism, which is an increasingly rare and precious thing."

Rare enough to where you, Mr Editor of the NYTimes, and your staff aren't producing much of it yourselves. So how does the existence of that "rare and precious thing" differentiate you, Mr. Keller, from other services that provide's no-fee reading? Especially given that your actual reporting seems neither rare nor precious, not to mention not really any different from any other news organizations. You guys at the NYTimes really think you're that much better than everyone else? And if the online fees end up amounting to a piddling, are you willing to admit certain things about yourselves that you seem to be ignoring in the present?

traditionalguy said...

The NYT will be just another neighborhood newspaper. Any influence outside of Manhatten Island will be gone with the wind. Sad. But they should have sold it five years ago before the internet killed off the value of owning a newspaper.

PatHMV said...

If they had any understanding of the blog world, they'd have a separate blogger price, maybe a bit more, with the actual increase in price perhaps based on your average traffic. In return for the increased price, you would be able to provide links to your readers to read their content even if the reader is not a subscriber.

Chip Ahoy said...

Pearls. Clams. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

Mary said...

Pogo
Skip the fiber products. Try fresh fruits and vegetables for everyday regularity.

How old are you to be so consipated anywaY? My father-in-law recommends prunes but then he's over 80.

Alex said...

Mary - Metamucil is the only way to go.

Peter V. Bella said...

Let's see- their advertising is down because their circulation and readership has dwindled. They are bleeding red ink like a ruptured aorta. So, what do they do? Charge people to read their paper on the internet.

Now if they provided trustworthy aggressively reported professional journalism with modicum of ethics they may be able to stay alive.

Soon the NYT will be on the scrap heap of history.

Pogo said...

Mary, enema of the people.

The Crack Emcee said...

Untrustworthy, biased, aggressively reported professional journalism, with a far-left liberal bent - and occasional pieces advocating whatever NewAge idea is out there - is an increasingly rare and precious thing.

Let's keep it that way - or make it more rare - don't pay.

I stopped really reading the thing a long time ago,...

Pogo said...

To describe the NYTimes, I think of Mike Royko, and I take away reason and accountability.

PJ said...

But won't this new pay scheme strike the poor and minorities the hardest?

Jeffrey said...

Right, let's not forget the excellent reporting of the so-called looting of the Baghdad Museum back in 2003:

Iraqi Antiquities Revisited.

On Saturday, April 12, 2003, three days after the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square in Baghdad had been pulled down to cheering Iraqis, the story of the looting of the Iraq National Museum began to appear both in print and on broadcast news outlets around the world. Over Saturday and Sunday and continuing into the next week it would be the dominant news story coming out of Iraq.

That Saturday, in his lead paragraph for the Associated Press, Hamza Hendawi wrote that the Iraq National Museum had been emptied and all that remained was broken pottery and shattered display cases. The BBC News online world edition reported that looters had removed thousands of pieces from the museum. And John F. Burns, writing for the New York Times, claimed that the museum had been looted over a period of 48 hours and that they had taken away “at least 50,000” artifacts. Later that evening Burns would rewrite his lead. Instead of 50,000 artifacts being carried away by looters, he inserted, “with at least 170,000 artifacts carried away by looters.” (1)


Read to rest of the article to find out what really happened. In the end, even John Burns of the NYTimes admits that they completely botched it the reporting (months later, of course, and certainly not on the frontpage).

*

Henry said...

This is long overdue. There is no good business model for giving away your product. Online advertising isn't generating the revenue to make it work.

This is not good for the rest of us. For all of its flaws the Time provides an extraordinary breadth and depth of reporting. TV news is a neighborhood scandal-sheet in comparison. The newsweeklies are thin gruel.

As the Times loses traffic, we will be looking at a scenario where news is local and opinion is national. You think the Times is shallow and partisan? Just wait until Huffington and Breitbart take their place.

If I were the Times I would start working out deals with ISPs. You already pay your cable TV provider for network channels. The next step is for you to pay your cable (or other Broadband) Internet provider for access to the Times and WSJ. ESPN to follow.

The low-hanging fruit is the smartphone market. Verizon or AT&T will cut deals that give their subscribers access for a few nickels a month.

Trooper York said...

Who cares. You can wrap your fish in the Daily News.

Michael said...

I canceled my subscription to the daily back at the beginning of the financial crisis. I kept the WSJ and the FT and the Sunday edition of the NYT because I did not think I could make a complete, cold turkey, break. I must say that the Sunday edition is the next to go. It is simply not that good and most of the "news" I have already read on the internets. The book review has become appalling. I will miss the "ombudsman's" weekly embarrassment, his cringe-making pretzel-like maneuvers to explain away the previous weeks inanities.

Original Mike said...

My favorite in the annals of trustworthy NYT reportage was "quoting" Karl Rove as saying (in a Q&A session after a lecture he delivered in 2002) he didn't care about the 3000 Iraqis who would die if we invaded. He said no such thing, (not even close, no need to make claims of "context" or anything) as the C-Span tape of the event showed and as the NYT eventually admitted to.

Even if I had an infinite amount of money, I wouldn't pay for their "news".

Original Mike said...

Hi, Trooper!

Trooper York said...

Hi Mike. Remember one thing and never forget the golden rule.

The only thing worst than a journalist is a lawyer.

Trooper York said...

They both lie for a living.

JAL said...

trustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism, which is an increasingly rare and precious thing

I think that's a slam at pajamas media & the rest.

Florida said...

"I will miss the Science and Technology sections, which are my favorite parts of the NYT."

Sure, but it's not like there's not Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Popular Science. All free web content providers, all providing a rich assortment of technology commentary equal to that found in the NY Times.

Bill Keller is correct that good unbiased hard news coverage is rare and precious. My question for Keller is why did the NY Times help kill it?

Has Bill Keller never heard of Jason Blair?

The fact of the matter is that the NY Times overvalues their product. Much of what they offer is routinely offered for free by thousands of high-quality writers - many of which used to write for the NY Times Company but who have been laid off.

Laying off your producers isn't very smart. The NY Times has left these people no choice but to go out into the world and start competing against the NY Times.

These just aren't very smart people.

Locking their content behind a paywall, however, is good for America.

It's been fun to click their advertisers ads (but of course never buy anything) in order to deplete their ad revenues - killing them softly with my song.

Ah memories ...

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Keller is stuck in the world of five years ago. Since then blogs and free sites (like Politico!) have upped their game and now offer the same or better quality of "journalism". That quality is not increasingly rare and precious, it's all over the place and free!

I wonder about Stanley Fish. Will he get his own blog now?

brer rabbit said...

Pinch Is Donne?

Most media is of one author, and is one volume; when one paper goes behind The Wall, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but encoded better for select true believers;

As therefore the credit card and Enter key that click onto the sermon in my news stories, calls not upon the limo-riding Publisher (President, DNC, UN, EU, Gore Greens and Enlightened Corporatists) only, but upon those legion keyboarding journo parrots and several dozen Prius-driving faithful to come;

No other “news” outlet is Manhattan, entire of itself, other than mine… any ratings and credibility loss I incur to right-wing rags, blogs and FOX excites me, because I am self-involved with a righteous political agenda become queer death wish for all;

and therefore never send to know for whom the key clicks; it clicks less and less for me!

AJ Lynch said...

Come on. These very same "journalists" are mostly from the 1970's and are in a state of denial. They took paychecks from their employers and then went out and ruined the business while the boss looked on approvingly.

Christ - all they have to do to fix it is report it straight down the middle sorta like the sports guys still do.

Jeez half the country absolutely hates "journalists" and can't wait for them to lose their jobs.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Or, in short, Bill Keller says Drudge wins.

David said...

They must like it in the bubble.

This move will surely have the effect of further limiting their readership in this country to people who share their predilections.

It will greatly restrict international access, favoring those who can afford to pay, to the particular exclusion of people in the emerging economies and third world.

It will reduce the number of people who critique their work and correct their errors.

Because bloggers have nothing to link to, it will force people on the net to link to other sources.

It will create a void which will be filled by something that is not the New York Times.

Now perhaps this is necessary for reasons of profitability. That's impossible for someone in my position to judge.

Or perhaps it won't happen. I don't think NYT will go out of business by 2011. But the Ochs-Sulzberger tribe may get nervous about diminishing and perhaps disappearing wealth over time and push for a sale.

My guess is that someone in that family hierarchy who has the power create an alliance to force a sale (or thinks they do) is already mapping their course.

Freeman Hunt said...

Palladian said...
And as far as the "news" content, doesn't the DNC supply their press releases for free? Why pay the middle man?

Yes, exactly. Their news section is terrible and entirely untrustworthy. That's the whole problem.

David said...

Pogo said...
"To describe the NYTimes, I think of Mike Royko, and I take away reason and accountability."

Pogo, I knew Royko--not well but we played some golf and had some drinks occasionally. Royko was not always big on reason but he understood accountability, both for himself and those he reported on. Everyone in Chicago knew what a jerk he could be but he was our jerk. And oh how he could write. He would have a field day with the foolishness that passes for journalism lately.

Original Mike said...

"I will miss the Science and Technology sections, which are my favorite parts of the NYT."

The brain surgeons at the NYT, in an article on solar panels that track the sun, once published that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

Layers of fact checkers and all that.

There are better places to get your science. And they're free.

mccullough said...

Maybe they can lobby for a provision in the health care bill requiring us to subscribe to the NYT.

Pogo said...

David, my parents are lifelong Dems and loved Royko. I used to read his books when I was in high school. Smart, funny, provocative, and common man-oriented. He never slung bullshit, never was a party hack that I could tell.


That's why I say Mike Royko - reason - accountability = NYTimes

ricpic said...

What the Times doesn't understand is that you've gotta give with the pizzazz. Here are excerpts of a story in my beloved NY Post:

'$EXXXY' DUO USE TONGUE

'Grammar' court ploy

Talk about cunning linguists!
Two curvy lap dancers are trying to wiggle out of prostitution charges on a tiny but important grammatical technicality -- prosecutors accidentally used the word "and" instead of "or" in writing up the charges.
The purportedly glitchy grammar in the charges against the pair - Alexia Moore and Falynn Rodriguez - alleges that they "did engage, offer and agree" to acts of prostitution with an undercover officer at Big Daddy Lou's Hot Lap Dance Club on West 38th Street in July 2008.
That differs from the wording in the state penal code, which specifies "engage, offer or agree," the gals argue.
In fact, nobody has ever accused the two of engaging in actual sex with the cop -- only of offering the cop a never-consummated threesome for $5,000. By using the word "and," prosecutors lock themselves into proving that sex actually happened, defense lawyers insist.
"Things have to be done correctly," said Rodriquez attorney Adam Moser. "They have to prove each element of the charge."
"Hey, listen," agreed Moore lawyer Salvatore Strazzullo, "We live in America, right?"
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge ShawnDya Simpson said she will research the matter and render a decision soon.


Just the names alone are poetry. And guess who owns Big Daddy Lou's Hot Lap Dance Club? Louis Posner. Is that perfect or what?

Anyway, the Times would never touch such a story and if it did it would wring all the juice out of it. Ergo the Times is dying and good riddance.

Lem said...

"[T]rustworthy, aggressively reported professional journalism, which is an increasingly rare and precious thing."

Kill Duck Before Serving..

Red Faces at The New York Times: A Collection of the Newspaper's Most Interesting, Embarrassing and Off-Beat Corrections

AJ Lynch said...

That is funny Lem. Who says liberals have lost their sense of humor?

mariner said...

Althouse, "trustworthy", and "NYT" don't belong on the same page.

Wash your keyboard out with soap!

;)

Charlie Martin said...

This will be a lovely demonstration of self-limiting behavior.

Mary said...

Mary, enema of the people.

Not interested in getting up your ass, Pogo. Sorry -- I'm taken.

(And before you ask -- he can't help you with your little problem either. Try the prunes, really.)

Synova said...

I won't pay, but then I don't go anywhere that I'm required to register either.

In my defense, I only complain about advertising that has audio (don't do that!) or pops up over the content. Advertising pays and content providers deserve to be paid. So I will cheerfully accept the presence of advertisements.

A friend told me that she'd heard that hulu.com was going to remove the ads and start charging a fee. If it does I won't watch it. Even if the fee is minimal it would require registering and making a payment. I'm already paying for cable television with three times the commercials that are on hulu. I can just make the extra effort to tivo the shows I want to see.

edutcher said...

vbspurs said...

...

We can also rejigger how we read the NYT. Instead of going to read the NYT first thing in the morning (if that's what we do), just check out Memeorandum/Althouse to see if they link to them first.

vb, the only time I subscribed, much less read, the Gray Lady was in '65-'66, when I was required to do so for a history course. When I graduated, I left the Gray Lady behind. I found I didn't like being lied to.

I haven't picked up the Gray Lady since.

And yet, I survive.

brer rabbit said...

Pinch Is Donne?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls...

Loved his five daughters, though.

Fen said...

The Grey Whore:

"The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history and change the facts to fit party doctrine, for propaganda effect." - 1984

"He finds that his work with the N.I.C.E. would have nothing to do with his academic training as a sociologist but instead would make use of his persuasive writing skills to plant N.I.C.E. propaganda in local papers (now mostly under N.I.C.E. control). He finds himself accepted into the "library circle", seemingly the inner political circle at Belbury. The circle reveals plans for staging a riot in Edgestow in order to cement N.I.C.E. control of the area, and Mark begins his efforts for the propaganda campaign." - That Hideous Strength

[...]

I hope the Little Eichmann's at Pravda all starve to death. They are an enemy of Truth.

lucid said...

I started subscribing to the Times when I was a freshman in college more than thiry years ago. Before that, i regularly read my family's home-delivered copy. I no longer read the Times. Its news perspecive is so smug and self-satisfied, so obtusely self-important, so narrowly constructed while certain of it superiority, and so so unnecessary to being well-informed, that I have given it up and never missed it.

Big Mike said...

What Pogo said at 1:30. I second that.

sonicfrog said...

What, you mean aggressive reporting... like this???

amba said...

When I first saw this news, the first word that came into my head was "suicide."

Theirs, I mean. Not some reader with withdrawal symptoms.