If you want to read the New York Times it appears you’re going to have to actually start paying for it. The newspaper of record has restricted their 20-free-articles-a-month allowance down to a measly 10. In other words it’s time ante up or start relying on Death and Taxes for your news coverage. While we are very proud of our political, conspiracy, indie music and strange DUI coverage, the New York Times is still the undoubted kingpin of traditional news reporting.
This newest restriction from the New York Times appears to be somewhat of an ultimatum for parasites, like myself, who suffice with their 20 article limit per month. Basically, the 20 article limit hasn’t encouraged enough people to get behind the paywall, it’s simply made readers more selective of their choices in articles.
Now we’re growing ever closer to the eventual stand off where readers choose between the quality or convenience. Growing up in an age where the majority of information on the internet is free, it is hard to convince us to subscribe to the New York Times for upwards of $35 per month when we can find similar, albeit not as well reported, news elsewhere free of charge.
It is this entitlement that is stunting the newspaper industry. The same people who wouldn’t dare steal a newspaper from a magazine stand wouldn’t entertain the notion for paying for the same product on their computer. It doesn’t matter that we’re typing away on thousand dollar MacBooks and browsing the web on our similarly expensive iPhones, it’s the principle of paying for something that we can get for free. We can certainly afford it, but why should we pay for it?
That is the question that the New York Times needs to answer, and there is no simple solution. In a perfect world news would follow a similar path as music. There was a time not so long ago where most of us wouldn’t dream of paying for a new album. Now iTunes dominates the market with a more affordable and convenient product than overpriced CDs. Services like Spotify and Mog offer monthly subscription based services that allow you to access almost any song imaginable.
The problem with news is it is nearly impossible to control the flow of information at this day and age, and with Twitter, Facebook and hundreds of other social media outlets our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Most people would much rather be entertained by a YouTube video of a mouse scaring and elephant than read 3,500 words about North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.
I’m sure I’ll fork over the cash to get under the Grey Lady’s skirt at some point or another, but the question is will people who don’t rely on news and current events for their jobs do the same, or will 10 articles per month suit them just fine?