NYTimes columnists boondoggle


So, due to inertia and a need to have a few 'subscriptions' for (small business) tax purposes, we have a weekend subscription to the NYT. Not really worth the money, usually, though sometimes, sitting in a park, under trees, the Sunday paper is a good read. Mostly, the Times annoys me with its slavish devotion to Those-in-Power and its general conservatism. Regardless, as of today, only print subscribers are allowed to view articles by the various Op-Ed writers (Krugman, Herbert, Maureen Dowd, et al). Theoretically, I should be able to log in and view these articles.

But either the Times isn't compatible with Macs (Safari or Firefox), or their service is incorrectly set up and beta tested. You would think these issues would be figured out before they launch the service? Right? I emailed the NYTimes last Thursday explaining how I was unable to log-on, and still have not received any response.

Nytimes select

after filling out the necessary information, I persistently got this error message (a system error occurred while processing your request. blah blah blah). I even tried it using my XP machine - same error.

Nytimes2 select

I rather like Dr. Black's suggestion:

Times Select Survivor

If the New York Times really believes its columnists primary purpose is to make them money rather than influencing the world, they should follow it through to the logical extension. They need to know which columnists are actually making money for them, which ones people are actually willing to pay for, and jettison the worst revenue earners.

To accomplish this they should allow people to purchase, for a modest fee, an annual subscription to one columnist or to a subset of their columnists. The one who takes in the least revenue should be, every 6 months, rotated off the island. That's capitalism, baby.

I know that only read/link to Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert and very rarely Maureen Dowd. So, the rest of their stable could stop wasting space with their tissue-paper arguments, as far as I am concerned. After reading a paragraph or two, I can't be bothered with David Brooks latest hucker-ism. Oh, and for a month the estimable Barbara Ehrenreich wrote for the op-ed page: she was well worth reading as well.

Update, apparently, not the only one with problems logging in.

Update: was able to login with FireFox.

Update: 10/6/05, per email with NYT, was finally able to login to the service using Safari (had to delete all of my NYT cookies first)



I had lots of problems using Times Select with Safari. I logged on to TS, then tried to read an article from "behind the wall", and it asked me to log on again. Fortunately, I was able to get it to work with Firefox.

Times Select is a ridiculous fiasco in the making for the New York Times. It would have made more sense to charge for the news and keep the op-ed page free. The columnists derive their influence from their widespread distribution, reducing the number of readers reduces their influence, therefore their importance, and therefore the incentive to read them. I work in Europe and on a normal work morning most of the people around me would have read the op-ed page of the Times and we would trade comments about what was written. This is no longer the case, as not a single colleague has signed up for Times Select. Instead, we read the op-ed page of the International Harald Tribune--which carries NYT columnists and Boston Globe columnists. So we end up reading and talking about what was written in the Globe. Several people have turned to the UK daily, The Guardian, which turns out to be a natural for former Times readers because some of the columnists are the functional equivalent of the ones we now do not have access to. So long New York Times!

I think you are absolutely right, Mory. I still cannot log in via my browser of choice, Safari, but more importantly, the Op-Ed columnists are no longer in anyone's daily conversation. Seems a very short-sighted choice. If it lasts 6 months, I'll be surprised.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on September 19, 2005 3:32 PM.

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