How much longer will you read The New York Times?

Well, at least online….

See this link “The NY Times wants less links” from megnut.com. (BTW, this is the blog of Meg Hourihan, who apparently was one of the people behind the company that started up blogger way back when). Essentially, The New York Times seems to be moving to an online subscription system, similar to what (apparently) The Wall Street Journal started doing earlier this year. As the megnut has it, “…increased traffic would drive increased revenue in the form of online advertising. And in the long term, I believe it would generate more income than charging US$49.95 for an annual subscription.”

Maybe. But I have to say that I am somewhat reminded of the tech.com bubble-burst. Back in those days, people thought that the idea of making “real money” was a sort of thing of the past, that the only “capital” you really needed to run a business was connections and links and such. Maybe it turns out that the NYT people have calculated that when it comes to the web side of their business, they’d make a bunch of money with subscriptions. And they’d still be able to sell ads.

I just remember the old days with The New York Times. When I was in college nearly 20 years ago now at the University of Iowa, you couldn’t get it on the same day; even the Sunday version of the NYT was a few days late. Then there were a number of years there, from about the time I was in my MFA program until I finished my PhD, when I lived in apartments without a washer and dryer. Sundays were laundry day and it quite frequently included a Sunday version of The New York Times. Often with doughnuts.

Nowadays, on those Sundays when I have time (they are rare), I’ll still go get a copy of The New York Times, though not usually with the doughnuts anymore. It isn’t the same reading it online. But then again, I have a lot of emotions tied to the paper, actually.

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