Inevitably, questions and even tensions arose when the ingrained Times culture rubbed against emerging digital sensibilities. For years, getting a story published on page A1 of The New York Times — the holy grail for most reporters — was a protracted ritual that involved two meetings with a large cast involving increasingly senior editors. The process by which the stories were pitched and debated took hours over numerous meetings across all the different departments.
In comparison, the process of getting a story onto the home page of The New York Times Web site often involved lobbying a 20-something gatekeeper, generally via instant message. The editors of blogs, who had no guarantee their content would even appear in the paper, were strategic about what we would lobby for — and when to do it. The right home page “refer” could send page views soaring.
Archive for the 'New york times' Category
The New York Times’ share of United States page views for all newspaper websites dropped from 13% in March to 10.6% in April, its lowest share in 12 months, according to new data from ComScore.
Page views from March to April declined 24.4% at The New York Times Online while slipping just 7.5% for newspaper sites as a group, according to the new Comscore numbers.
Last night’s news about the death of Osama bin Laden would seem to qualify as one of those big must-read stories. So it’s interesting to note that the [New York Times'] coverage of the news — all of its articles and blog posts — remained behind the paper’s gate last night. And they’ll remain there. “There are no current plans to open up the news and features about Bin Laden for free on NYTimes.com,” a Times spokesperson told me. “As you know, readers get 20 articles free each month, and they can access Times content through other means, such as blogs, social media and search.”
The Bin Laden story broke on May 1, just a few hours after all non-subscribing Times readers had seen their monthly 20-article count reset to zero. Barring a big Sunday-morning reading binge, most were probably still at the very beginnings of their monthly allotments. And while “any decision to make any content free on NYTimes.com will be made on a case by case basis,” the spokesperson notes, “in this case in particular, the fact that the story broke on May 1 was certainly a factor.”
Brian Stelter, a media reporter at the New York Times, reported on the conservative “sting” operation against NPR. I really think Stelter sidestepped his journalistic duties by completely leaving out a massive amount of proper context for his NYT readers. Chiefly, he did not mention the multiple times James O’Keefe, the producer of the sting videos, has been thoroughly discredited and humiliated. He didn’t mention that multiple state attorney generals deemed his ACORN stings “severely edited” and misleading, or the fact that O’Keefe had misled millions into thinking he had dressed as a pimp when entering the offices. Stelter didn’t mention that O’Keefe is a convicted criminal as a result of a prior sting.
And, most importantly, the New York Times didn’t mention O’Keefe’s plans to sexually harass a CNN reporter by attempting to lure her on a boat filled with sex toys and other paraphernalia.
Does the New York Times’ Stelter not think these are important facts that will aid its readers in judging O’Keefe’s latest sting operation? By constantly refusing to include these pertinent details, the paper acts as an enabler for O’Keefe’s future shoddy journalism projects. You know who else gave O’Keefe free coverage in the past without showing enough skepticism? NPR. So I have two questions for Stelter: How long until the New York Times gets burned by O’Keefe? And once it does, will you regret not discrediting him when you had the chance?
In a press release today, the New York Times indicated that its much-awaited pay meter is on the horizon. The Guardian quotes Arthur Sulzberger as saying he does not expect a drop in web traffic as a result of the change.
When the UK newspaper The Times erected a paywall, it saw a 90% decrease in readership, as people using social networking tools were no longer able to link to its content very efficiently. The New York Times, however, will attempt to strike a balance; leaving its content up for free for the casual user while injecting a paywall after an undetermined number of visits. This way, a person can read an article for free and tweet a link to it without worrying that his readers will hit a brick wall when they arrive. To try to ensure the sharability of the Times content, it will not require payment if you come into the site through a side door — through an RSS feed, a search engine, or a link. Though we don’t know the exact ramifications, this seems to indicate that only people who come in through NYTimes.com will be charged. Perhaps also people who come in through a side link and continue clicking through articles.
There are two unknowns in this equation:
1. If it’s easy to get in through a side door, will savvy consumers simply Google New York Times headlines to avoid paying? I already do this often when I encounter the Wall Street Journal’s paywall.
2. Even though the Times will allow a certain number of free visits, will the mere existence of a paywall automatically drive down inbound links? If the fourth article I read on the New York Times is locked down and unaccessible, then I as a reader won’t be able to link to it. Certainly the publisher is expecting at least some drop in traffic?
Those watching journalism outlets for new business models should keep an eye on the announcement that The New York Times is launching a service called TimesLimited.
The NYT’s offering, TimesLimited, seems closer to Gilt than Groupon. It lets advertising partners offer deals on a limited number of items for a brief window of time.
This may start to emerge as part of the overall advertising package for publishers. In fact, local deal aggregator Yipit predicts publishers will dominate the daily deal space.
I’ve always maintained that publications should start shifting toward ecommerce and online retail, allowing their news sites to also become a marketplace ecosystem. Would it be possible for the New York Times to open its own version of Amazon, and if so how would it work?
In an interview with Julie Germany, New York Times columnist Matt Bai was asked which news outlets he trusted the most, and had this to say:
I think Politico does a better and better job of rendering Washington in a more granular and very credible way, too. I don’t read bloggers, generally. I think there are some very good ones, but if you don’t want to become a vehicle for everyone else’s collective wisdom, then it’s best not to consume it, or at least that’s my philosophy.
Earlier in the interview he posits that the biggest challenge in new media is breaking through the noise.
There’s just so much content out there now, and people customize their content so much more than they ever could before, that you really have to be on readers’ RSS feeds and in their Flipboard favorites and all of that. It’s not really enough to just be posted on a homepage – even one as well-trafficked as the Times’.
It’s also a challenge for me personally to find the line between interactive and just plain silly. For instance, there’s all this pressure to tweet all day long, which I won’t do. I mean, does the world really need yet more of my thoughts?