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Turning Online Journalism Into A Profit

March 17, 2011

UPDATE..There was a typo on this post earlier that made it appear I did not think the NYT’s was top-notch in all they do.  In fact, they are top-notch, and I read their paper that is thrown onto my stoop every morning.  Sorry for the confusion.

I am not so sure this will work. 

The public has been allowed to read for years all the online news for free at The New York Times.  Now the online portion of this operation wants to have a fee structure in place for these readers.

I suspect there will be, among many, a reluctance to pay.

Please understand the reporting, writing, and analysis is top-notch at the NYT’s, and that fact is not in dispute.  I also agree with the Times that  no one should think this news and information should be for free.  So I agree with the need to fund this online service.  On top of that the NYT’s deserves to make a profit.

But my concern is that after having the online news free for so long will people understand that need to pay for it?

No American news organization as large as The Times has tried to put its content behind a pay wall after allowing unrestricted access. The move is being closely watched by anxious publishers, which have warily embraced the Web and struggled with how to turn online journalism into a profitable business.

“A few years ago it was almost an article of faith that people would not pay for the content they accessed via the Web,” Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company, said in his annual State of The Times remarks, which were delivered to employees Thursday morning.

“This move is an investment in our future,” he said. “It will allow us to develop new sources of revenue to support the continuation of our journalistic mission and digital innovation, while maintaining our large and growing audience to support our robust advertising business. And this system is our latest, and best, demonstration of where we believe the future of valued content — be it news, music, games or more — is going.”

Mr. Sulzberger acknowledged the hurdles The Times must overcome in the minds of many readers, saying he harbored no misconceptions.

“The challenge now is to put a price on our work without walling ourselves off from the global network, to make sure we continue to engage with the widest possible audience,” he said.

  1. March 18, 2011 9:57 AM

    Thanks for the comment….I made a major typo…….had a long day and it showed.

    I LOVE the New York Times, and also appreciate your catching me on this.

    I made the change.


  2. mlerc permalink
    March 18, 2011 9:35 AM

    Deke wrote:Please understand the reporting, writing, and analysis is not top-notch at the NYT’s, and that fact is is not in dispute.

    Did you mean to have that NOT in there, that the Times is NOT topnotch?

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