NYT pundits lament pay-only Times Select

Editor & Publisher interviewed some of the New York Times columnists whose work is no longer accessible on the web without charge. They are not happy about the reduced readership, and note that in many overseas locations the $50 charge the Times imposes would pay for a lot more than on the Upper West Side.

For its part, the Times is still keeping the number of those paying a state secret. Which means it is an embarrassment, in all liklihood.

"I'm sad to lose an awful lot of readers, and a lot of readers in places like China and Pakistan who don't have credit cards or the ability to sign up," says Nicholas Kristof, a four—year Op—Ed columnist whose work appears twice weekly. "I want to be read, and this makes it much harder. But that is tempered by a concern that we come up with a business model to pay for my trips to Africa."

The decline in earnings at the New York Times Company apparently weighs on the mind of Kristoff. And filing from Bayonne, New Jersey instead of Nairobi apparently doesn't thrill him, either.

Thomas Friedman, another Op—Ed columnist who has a lot of foreign readership, admitted to being torn on the subject: "I want my newspaper to have a successful business platform. But the other side of me says that I have a lot of international readers in places like Egypt, where $50 could be their college tuition for a while."

Friedman stressed that reaching readers was among the most important aspects of the opinion pages, but added, "so is a good business model." He credited the paper with trying something new, noting, "we had to dive into the pool to see what was there."

It sounds as though Pinch Sulzberger has been throwing around the jargon of "business model" a lot lately.

Columnist Paul Krugman, whose writing appears Mondays and Fridays, said, "for the time being, it hurts the readers of the column. There is certainly a lot less pick—up." But as a professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Krugman understands perhaps better than most the financial upside to TimesSelect: "It doesn't hurt the profit center."

Krugman is the big winner in all of this. His lies, error—ridden corrections, and other embarrassments are no longer subject to dissection by bloggers, since most would rather kiss a rattlesnake than give the NYT 50 Samolians.

Still these opinion—mongers love attention. So it's gotta hurt to be left out of the wonderful world of the internet, especially as the balance of political commentary shifts from dead trees to cybespace. And the humiliation of the secrecy of the number of subscribers must be painful.

Thomas Lifson  10 19 05

Editor & Publisher interviewed some of the New York Times columnists whose work is no longer accessible on the web without charge. They are not happy about the reduced readership, and note that in many overseas locations the $50 charge the Times imposes would pay for a lot more than on the Upper West Side.

For its part, the Times is still keeping the number of those paying a state secret. Which means it is an embarrassment, in all liklihood.

"I'm sad to lose an awful lot of readers, and a lot of readers in places like China and Pakistan who don't have credit cards or the ability to sign up," says Nicholas Kristof, a four—year Op—Ed columnist whose work appears twice weekly. "I want to be read, and this makes it much harder. But that is tempered by a concern that we come up with a business model to pay for my trips to Africa."

The decline in earnings at the New York Times Company apparently weighs on the mind of Kristoff. And filing from Bayonne, New Jersey instead of Nairobi apparently doesn't thrill him, either.

Thomas Friedman, another Op—Ed columnist who has a lot of foreign readership, admitted to being torn on the subject: "I want my newspaper to have a successful business platform. But the other side of me says that I have a lot of international readers in places like Egypt, where $50 could be their college tuition for a while."

Friedman stressed that reaching readers was among the most important aspects of the opinion pages, but added, "so is a good business model." He credited the paper with trying something new, noting, "we had to dive into the pool to see what was there."

It sounds as though Pinch Sulzberger has been throwing around the jargon of "business model" a lot lately.

Columnist Paul Krugman, whose writing appears Mondays and Fridays, said, "for the time being, it hurts the readers of the column. There is certainly a lot less pick—up." But as a professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Krugman understands perhaps better than most the financial upside to TimesSelect: "It doesn't hurt the profit center."

Krugman is the big winner in all of this. His lies, error—ridden corrections, and other embarrassments are no longer subject to dissection by bloggers, since most would rather kiss a rattlesnake than give the NYT 50 Samolians.

Still these opinion—mongers love attention. So it's gotta hurt to be left out of the wonderful world of the internet, especially as the balance of political commentary shifts from dead trees to cybespace. And the humiliation of the secrecy of the number of subscribers must be painful.

Thomas Lifson  10 19 05