Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The Industry

Questions from a Newsrat
As I write to a community of newspaper industry professionals, I can hear the outrage.

Although a pay-wall does exist for The New York Times, the content on its website is also decidedly social. Unlike other newspapers with pay-walls, The New York Times allows articles to be viewed for free if they are accessed from another news source or social media outlet. This presentation, while a seemingly bad idea for The New York Times, as they may lose on revenue, is a great idea for news itself.

As a self-proclaimed “newsrat,” I spend more time reading the news than any other activity. I constantly trace information back to original sources to judge for myself if the portrayal of information is satisfactory. While The New York Times allows me to read 10 free articles every month, I usually hit my limit within the first hour of the first day. I am acutely aware that I should purchase a subscription, however, the pay-wall loophole that The New York Times has provided suits my needs perfectly.

As I write to a community of newspaper industry professionals, I can hear the outrage. However, I maintain that this strategy that The New York Times has developed is actually more suited to this digitally social age than any other news outlet. See, with this strategy, The New York Times has forced all other news outlets to subscribe, and thus reference them. The New York Times is an industry leader; it’s a national paper with outstanding journalism. By giving its information for free, provided that you access the information from other news sources or social media outlets, The New York Times is essentially guaranteeing that its readers are not only participating in the active search of information, but also becoming exponentially more informed. The New York Times has found a way to reward its readers for reading both its own paper and the papers that reference it, thus rewarding readers for simply pursuing knowledge.

Perhaps it is my own “newsrattiness” that leaves me so in awe of this decision, which is so nuanced in its intentions. I can’t help but feel that this is the way the delivery of information should be. Information should not just be for those that can afford it, but rather, should be free, at least a certain amount. Of course, The New York Times’ advertisers are many, so that revenue stream is likely healthy, giving them wiggle room for their circulation revenue.

I guess it all comes down to how we perceive the news, its “meta” function, as it were. Do we perceive it as necessary, as integral to the health of our population? Or do we see it as just another product to be bought and sold? Whatever the answer is, the availability and price of information should reflect its function and inherent value. Lastly, with the readership of newspapers dwindling, how do we rebuild readership that contributes to a more informed public? How can newspapers attract those who simply desire knowledge without compromising their bottom line?