Times Select: All the News That's Fit to Pay For

Listen to the Show

screen grab [3 Oct 05, New York Times]

A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times launched Times Select — pitched as “exclusive online access” to op-ed columnists, the full archives, and various special features. If you’re a print subscriber, you can log in to Times Select for free (if you’re persistent enough to figure out how). But if you’ve adapted to reading the Times online without paying a penny, you now have to fork over $49.95 per year or else say goodbye to Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, et al.

Times Select has proven to be a kind of catnip for media bloggers. NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen’s post here lays out and links to lots of the online conversation. And one enterprising fellow has decided to circumvent the Times Select firewall by posting the op-ed columns for free on his blog Never Pay Retail.

We decided this could make an interesting show when, in a story meeting, we all suddenly felt we needed to ask: Why did they decide to do this? Why did they put the op-ed columns behind the firewall rather than the news columns (especially as there’s plenty of alternative free opinion out there in the blogosphere)? Were the columnists involved in the decision? Are they happy about it — does it increase or decrease their relevancy? How does it fit in to all of the other online revenue models in medialand? (Most of the online Wall Street Journal, for example, is available only to subscribers; but the Guardian is completely free online.) Which one of these models is smartest and why?

We’d like to know what questions you have and what you make of this experiment.

Jay Rosen

Professor of journalism at NYU. Blogs about journalism and online media at Pressthink.

Staci Kramer

Executive Editor of PaidContent.

Rich Meislin

Associate Managing Editor for Internet publishing, the New York Times.

Ben Hammersley

Journalist; oversees the Guardian’s blogs.

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