The New Coke Times

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No, no, I'm not referring to their reporters' recreational habits… but rather the "New Coke" level success of "Times Select," which keeps the formerly-Grey Lady's op-ed columnists behind pay firewall. Daily Kos is tracking blog mentions of several columnists, which look to be in free-fall. Bloggers are a pretty tiny proportion of the population, obviously, but they're probably a decent proxy for influence and exposure more generally.

NEXT: The Future of Public Television: Saturday in L.A.

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  1. No, the bloggers are not a decent proxy for anything but themselves. Bloggers only link to linkable stuff, even if they read more things on paper. The New York Times distributes mainly on paper these days, and The New York Times cares most about the paper readers, since they are concentrated around New York City and also provide the most profitable revenue stream. Plus millions more read the Times columinists in syndication in other paper papers. The influence of the Times columnists is barely affected by the loss of the nonpaying web audience.

  2. They’ve got it precisely backwards: they should be paying people to read the drivel printed on the NYTimes editorial page. Does anyone outside of Manhattan take those people seriously?

  3. Sadly, Number 6, there are plenty of people in this country who think Krugman is a demi-god.

  4. If you can get past Luskin’s attitude, he put up a graph of the last six months of Times op-ed links. Basically the one-month trend doesn’t say much.

  5. I too think they are “probably a decent proxy for influence and exposure more generally.” I used to check out those columns, but would not pay for them.

    The point was not profitability (I believe the Times is heading in the wrong direction there), but exposure and influence. If they have to pay, many less people will read, hence less exposure and influence.

    Or were they already just comic relief?

  6. I think that this marketing strategy (which is what it is) is more popular that it seems. In my area, our best local paper (excellent news reporting) for a 2 million person + metro area. The opinion page, however, is filled with the most vile, disgusting right wing wacko stuff you could imagine. People (letters to the editor) calling protesters “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”. People calling evolution “faith based science”. Lots of Bible quotes about gay people. Wacky, wacky stuff that you wouldn’t expect from a paper with such good news reporting. But, it makes sense. If they can keep the reporting good and relatively unbiased, then why not let the “opinion” page spin out of control for fun? It’s not news, and it technically IS opinion, even if the opinions are from brain dead cretins that were saved from natural selection by medical science and a bit of a social security system.

  7. Frank – funny, but my paper is the opposite, from what I remember. Here in Phoenix we have a paper called the Republic. It is not a very good paper. Ok, the sports page isn’t bad, but the rest of it is mainly just pulled from the AP. And anything original isn’t very good. The opinion page isn’t too bad, though. I’ve actually seen some well-written opinion pieces, and although I might not always agree with the argument, at least I can read through it.

    Our other paper in this metro area is The Tribune. That paper is written by either a) chimpanzees or b) 5 year olds.

    But take it all with a grain of salt cuz I never really read the paper, anyway.

  8. Gray Lady, not Grey Lady. If we’re discussing newspapers, use AP style, please. 🙂

  9. Don’t Forget the Red Star, an official organ of labour unions and Liberals!

  10. Most of you knocking the NYT are just off base. It is the U.S.’s newpaper of record. I want to have access to every last word of “all the news that’s fit to print.”
    The Scot miser genes in me want to access babelicious Maureen free. (Not to even mention our “plant” there.) The Scot mind of Adam Smith in me realizes it may not be possible.
    The rich get richer and the rich get smarter. Life ain’t fair… but I sorta knew that.
    During moments of sobriety, I plan to rise to the challenge.

  11. For anyone interested, Don Luskin’s got the Bigger Picture on the NYTimes Select (going back to April)

  12. oops someone beat me to it – i’ll just stfu and sit down now.

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