Friday, November 04, 2005

NY Times Downgrades Access

It's a shame, but the NY Times has placed limitations on it's website access. Now to view items from the OpEd section, you need to subscribe to the paper. It's obvious why this is bad for readers, but why is it bad for the NY Times? From an interesting post on Technorati's blog:

As the chart above shows, the most influential media sites on the web are still well-funded mainstream media sites, like The New York Times, ...

Infact it's the most linked-to site. And in comparison there is the Wall Street Journal:

An interesting statistic to note is the current placement of subscription sites like (the Wall Street Journal). While the WSJ has begun to offer some content outside of its subscriber-only site, the policy is clearly costing them some influence and attention in the blogosphere, as bloggers find it difficult to link to articles in the subscriber-only sections. Also interesting to note is that even though The New York Times and The Washington Post require free registration to view the articles, bloggers are still linking to the stories, and this behavior hasn't changed much in the past 6 months.

Note that since this change does not affect me (I get the paper at home and have full access to the web edition) I don't write this commentary out of vindictiveness. With the rise of electronic media, institutions like the NYTimes are more accessible and have much influence than previously.

So will the current change in the NY Times' policy affect it's relatively newfound influence? And if we do move to a paperless environment, where the morning news is read through an electronic screen instead of through paper, will more electronic content be pay-per-view? Going electronic and dumping paper is in the end a smart choice for many reasons (i.e. less waste, more cost effective) ... but how will these changes affect the influence of these institutions in the public debate? We will see.