Rumoured to happen for months, the NYT finally announced that it will put up a paywall. I have been meaning to blog about my full out support for this for much time. But suffice to say I am beyond stoked about this, and hope it encourages other media companies to do the same.
Free content is great in the sense of my insanely tight budget and thirst for news. But its not right. Do you know how much time and resources goes into getting stories from the field? Or how much work goes into being writer/photographer/editor? News, and I would argue especially photojournalism, give the illusion that its relatively straightforward to source and produce. Its not. Getting original stories - especially off the beaten path or in tricky, dangerous places - is frustrating terrain, that requires lots of ground work. Which requires cash, and people who can do it. Well.
The Times, more than any other outlet, brings together the best of the best, and creates a truly top-end product (which is not to say that I like every writer/photog/section there, but they each bring impressive skill sets.)
As my friend Jina Moore cleverly wrote earlier today, of NYT's prowess:
The Times is the journalism world's valedictorian that is also hot and good at sports -- the do-all, take-all that inspires as much consternation as adoration. Of course,the hot valedictorian graduates after four years, and the rest of us mortals never get to relish in watching his/her undoing. The Times has been around 140-or-something years, with a long record of excellence and also a rather fat file of mistakes.
Track record's such as the Times should be respected, not taken for granted by clicks of the mouse. While I do think the $15/mo fee could be a bit lower and still be fair, the continued assumption that we deserve to know about everything told with the highest standards without paying cheapens how we view the work.
I have long since been frustrated that amidst the trumpets heralding doom in the world of journalism, everywhere from The New Yorker to the Guardian to GQ to the Globe and Mail to Reuters and AP continues to pass along all this work for no fee.
If you appreciate how much goes into producing this work, and (on an mildly selfish tip) the worth in paying the people who do it fairly, you should be supporting companies who produce it. 15 bucks is not all that much loot for most Times readers to receive professional quality work.
Enter Jina again:
Subscribing to the Times -- or to your local newspaper, or to other media outlets you think do important and needed work -- is not your usual financial transaction. You're not trading $15 for $15 worth of goods. You're supporting an enterprise, one that sometimes disappoints you and sometimes provides a service that's literally impossible to put a price on. You're helping to provide a public good -- journalism -- at a time when it's in the interest of the powerful, everywhere, to see it die.
On Times-related note, Lyndsey Addario, Tyler Hicks, Stephen Farrell and Anthony Shaddid went missing in Libya on Tuesday. On a post this afternoon from NYT, their whereabouts remain unknown. Let's hope they are doing okay, and for a speedy release.
Please note the photo at the bottom of the NPAA article and check out Addario and Hicks' photos and essays on covering Libya, last week on the NYT Lens Blog. Commitment to the core and excellent photos that, for some reason, were delivered to us for free.
5 days ago