The Gray Lady Wants Your Money
Written by Bwog Staff
After extensive testing on the Canadians, The New York Times launched its dreaded paywall today! The gray lady now requires non-subscribers to fork over fifteen bucks a month for digital content. Bwog had lotsa questions, so we talked to the trusty keepers of information, Columbia librarians.
According to Journalism librarian, Chris Ergunay, NYT subscriptions—current and historical— come from a variety of vendor subscription arrangements (ProQuest, Factiva, etc.). Columbia libraries will continue to offer these resources, some with permalinks, to all Columbians and even alums (we know you’re out there). But don’t expect the NYT layout. Unforunately, Ergunay adds, there isn’t an academic library subscription for the NYT in website format available at the moment. ProQuest Historical Newspapers does have page maps of NYT but only for issues printed from 1851-2007, not for more recent years. Depending on how all this goes, the CCSC Policy Committee will reevaluate the amount of paper copies it orders.
Still, as you’ve probably heard, there are loads of loopholes to the porous paywall—some even used by NYTimes writers! Scandalous! According to the Times news release, “readers who come to the Times articles through links from search [arrivals from Google are capped though], blogs [us!] and social media like Facebook and Twitter, will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly limit.” Of course people will just set up Twitter accounts to tweet every news story everyday. Despite all the attempts to scam the system, Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. remains unfazed. He claims “mostly high-school kids and people out of work” will try to circumvent the paywall. Seems kinda optimistic…
Without getting too Core crazy here, the great paywall predicament does raise interesting moral questions. Since the Times intentionally left holes in the wall, is it really unethical to take advantage of them? Or is NYT just hoping you’ll be generous. Free linking makes you popular, but money makes you rich. A Time (yep, without the “s”) blogger offers an all-too relevant example: cheese tasting. When you’re gorging yourself on Westside cheese, where’s the line between sampling and scrounging?
Mauve reader via wikimedia.