Sunday, January 17, 2010

NYT set to further reduce its relevance

NYT to begin charging for online subscriptions

One commenter to this story wrote:

"The NY Times is an incredible newspaper."

I certainly agree with that statement, though not in the way he meant it. Their credibility certainly isn't what it used to be. Leftists love them. Most other people either distrust or ignore them, and for good reason. The Times is the poster-child for the leftist corruption of what some call the Mainstream Media. That isn't to say that every article is leftist propaganda, but enough articles are that the paper as a whole is made suspect. In addition to the articles that attempt to persuade rather than inform (and I don't mean op-ed either), there is the perpetual question of what they're NOT telling you. If the Times is unable spin a story to their liking, they simply ignore it.

Growing distrust has lead to reduced readership. They try to blame this on the internet, but that argument falls apart when one looks at other papers whose circulation is either stable or growing. There are only so many leftists to sell papers to, and the Times already has that market saturated. The farther out in left field they go, the fewer people are going to buy their paper.

If they adopt a model that restricts open access to their content, bloggers will simply go elsewhere. This may be the point. Right now the Times is regularly called to task by citizen journalists for its lack of honesty. Not only does that criticism sting, but it further damages their brand, which over the long run determines the paper's continued relevance. By limiting access, they limit criticism. The problem is that when you limit criticism by hiding from your critics, you cease to be relevant to anyone who isn't a fanboy.

One might argue that the paper should seek to improve its quality by hiring those with a commitment to honesty and objectivity. The problem is that such people don't go to journalism school. At the very least they don't graduate from it. You can't hire people who don't exist. The Times would have to begin hiring people from other backgrounds, and that would provoke the ire of the Journalism school grads who won't appreciate having their educational credentials devalued like that.

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