Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Curse You, New York Times

I am amazed at how expensive it is becoming to read The New York Times. Particularly in an age when The Washington Post remains at 35 cents for a hard copy ($1.50 on Sundays) and almost completely free on line in addition to a free Express version, I am stunned that the NYT charges for any portion of its content.

I suppose it remains true that most of the "news" stories remain free on the NYT website, but really, that's the kind of news you can get from almost any other source. Anything that's even remotely unique to the paper comes at a price.

The Op-Ed page -- probably one of the best out there -- costs money to read. Pundits and academics inevitably discuss their concepts and ideas for days after publication, but us plebians aren't allowed to read them without paying for the privilege.

My greater concern is the Metropolitan Diary column. (Hey, I never claimed to be a deep political thinker.) For a while, I had bookmarked the "NY Region" page of the NYT web page so that I could read the new Diary columns when they appeared every Monday.

See, the Diary is kind of blog-like, which is why I enjoy reading it. It's just a compilation of sweet, sour, and in-between observations of New York City life, the kind of stuff that makes me miss my one summer there. I always looked forward to reading it.

About three weeks ago, I noticed that the Diary was no longer updating. I think the last one I read was from April 22. At first I thought perhaps the column was on a brief hiatus and waited for the next week's installment, but a week later, still nothing.

I was just about to lament that NYT had clearly discontinued to column when I noticed that the date on top of my bookmarked page had not changed since April. I decided to double-check by going through the main NYT page and charging forward from there, instead of going just through my bookmark.

Sure enough, I found the latest Metropolitan Diary (but only after running a search within their "NY/Region" page). So, for today, I got my Diary fix.

But wait! What about the several weeks that I didn't get to read them? I decided to check for the past weeks' installments, because previously, I had always been able to read up to a three previous Diary columns without charge.

No longer. Having read the May 15 column, I found that the May 8 column had already been captured by the webmaster gods and sold into a life once only seen in Times Square (before Rudy Guiliani "cleaned it up"): you have to pay to see these bad boys, sucker. Yes, like some cheap hooker offering to flash her mammaries in my face, the New York Times expected me to fork over a few bucks before I could read a column that was, in fact, less than a week old.

So, from now on, I must be exceedingly diligent in my NYT reading. Before long, if I don't get to the Diary within an hour after posting, they'll be charging for it.

1 comment:

Rene Merced Jr said...

I'm not a big reader of Op-Ed pieces in the paper. I do check the news online, but usually I read the online version of the newspaper of my dinky little hometown in Maryland to see what's happening up there.

Thankfully, it's all free.