I am an unapologetic and avid reader of the New York Times online. I say “unapologetic” because as an ex-journalist, some of my friends look at me as if I’ve grown another head when I admit that I do not currently have a newspaper subscription, am usually ignorant of the events that go on in my city, but read my news online. I guess I am “that person” who has contributed to the downfall of print.
My love of the New York Times has gone as far as installing an app on my newly acquired smartphone. So imagine my sadness this morning, when I read Arthur Sulzberger’s letter to the readers of the New York Times that outlined the steps the venerable newspaper is taking to capture revenue from readers like me … a digital subscription.
I see why the Times is going this route … it’s a route that frankly many newspapers need to travel if they hope to survive in this digital era. And the good news? Within a calendar month, you can read 20 articles for “free” before you get locked out and asked to pony up some money. But as I’ve sat here this morning clicking through all of the articles that I think I want to read – I see that limiting myself to 20 articles a month is going to be impossible for an avid reader like me. So I clicked on the link that brought me to the payment plans for the New York Times’ digital subscriptions. They are .99 a week for the first four weeks.
Well … that’s great. And then what? I plan on living past the four-week grace period of 99-cent access. I don’t know if I want to click on the access I think that I want for fear that I’m going to get roped into donating my cat towards the cause of keeping journalism solvent. But I clicked anyway and after the grace period of four weeks of 99-cent digital content, the subscription is $3.75/week. That’s $195 per year. A little bit over one of my monthly college loan payments. It’s affordable, yes. But necessary? Especially when I can go to the library and read it for free in paper form?
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