I’ve just learned that The New York Times is planning a subscription system for some of their newspaper content starting in September.
The bad news first: readers won’t be able to get their David Brooks or Paul Krugman fix without paying a subscription fee of $49.95 a year. Like Farhad Manjoo of Salon, I’d imagine this subscription may undercut the influence of the Times’ columnists, especially within the blogosphere (Kos has already promised not to link to Times writers after September).
But the good news is that the subscription will allow readers access to TimesPast, the newspaper’s extensive archives. I realize that most of this material is already available at many university libraries in one form or another and that the New York Times Link Generator already offers permanent links to many recent articles, but access to the archives should prove valuable for research purposes.
Like Frank Rich (quoted in the Salon article), I recognize that running a newspaper is an expensive business (somebody’s gotta pay for that hard-hitting war journalism), but I also know that on my budget, I’m not likely going to be able to afford to pay $50 just to read the columnists. Of course, if they start hiding the movie reviews, that’s a whole different story. Then I might be completely lost.