Sunday, September 30, 2012 Will Online Readers Pay for Political Coverage?

Kaitlyn Crist

Woes of a Broke College Kid

When I was assigned for blog coverage, I was initially concerned.

"Don't you have to pay to view their website?" I inquired  I was reassured by my classmates that it was just the archives I would have to pay to view, and the fresh coverage should be all mine to critique.

I was sadly misinformed  Up until last week, all was dandy, until I tried to share with the readers an article detailing the "47%," and was promptly halted.

I was told I had used all ten of my reads for the month and would have to purchase a subscription to read any more.

The notification readers receive after they have passed the then article limit
 Because I am a journalist, and I read more than ten news articles on a daily basis, I figured I would dig deeper to see the cost of full NYT content. 

On the website's subscription page I found that I could pay only 99 cents a week for any of the digital subscriptions for four weeks. Not a bad deal. This included the mega-subscription with smart phone and tablet app access.

It was when I clicked the details, though, that the joy was short lived (about four weeks to be exact).

After that, the "super-subscription" cost users $8.75 a week. The basic subscription (online and smart-phone content) was about $3.75 a week.

I know, I spend more than $8.75 a week on coffee and chicken nuggets, but it was the principle. It just sounded like too much to me.

There were limitations on the subscriptions too. You could only look at 100 archived articles a month even with the subscription. I know, that seems like a lot, but once again, principle.

The good news is, you can share your subscription with one family member. My 12-year-old sister is going to be absolutely thrilled about her Christmas gift this year!

The Starving Journalist 

The details page for the "All-Digital Access" subscription
I understand NYT, I really do. The advent of the internet has caused a surge in "free" coverage, and it is getting harder and harder to make good money in the industry.

As a underpaid (never-paid?) blossoming journalist myself, I can understand how frustrating it can be. But, so is the way of the future, and isn't it about time we embrace it?

NYT has ads on their page, so you know they are getting revenue in from other sources, yet they are still insisting you pay the price of one Happy Meal a week to view their basic content (like I said, I eat a lot of chicken nuggets).

With aggregate sites like The Huffington Post  and Twitter providing fresh, free content from several media sites as competition, wouldn't New York Times want to increase their foot traffic instead of turning them away for reading too much?

I say it's time to go the way of the world (no matter how hard we try).

Yes, people will still pay to have your Sunday edition delivered to their iPad in a click, but I think asking to pay for the online stories is turing off readers (especially the coveted younger demographic who grew up with the internet).

Instead, lets drive people to your site more. Let them view as much content as they please, with a few ads scrolling to the side. This will increase your foot traffic, thus increasing your ad revenue.

I actually think the NYT has some of the most insightful, well-thought stories on the internet, and in their paper.

 So, lets get a whole new generation to enjoy what our parents have for years.

I want to see NYT succeed, and for that to happen, I actually think asking for money may be hurting more than helping.

But what do I know, I'm just a millennial who wants good, free, news content online. Is that too much to ask?

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