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The Sciences

The New York Times may charge for content

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanJanuary 18, 2010 2:10 AM

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That's what New York Magazine is reporting. By spring. I've actually paid for online content before, but generally have let my subscriptions lapse because the net has so much information that it didn't seem worth it. It seems likely that Google News and other aggregators will be the big winner out of this. In many areas The New York Times does have better content (e.g., Carl Zimmer's articles), but the big difference from other newspapers is the breadth of their coverage. It's one-stop-shopping, and most aggregators don't offer much of an advantage. With a price differential they may. All that being said, this seems like a more rational and realistic plan than gating off opinion columnists as they did with TimesSelect. Opinion seems to be where a traditional newspaper operation has been totally superseded by web-only outfits, in large part because columnists who do print & web duty are more constrained in terms of space and frequency. On the other hand, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal do publish articles in specialized areas such as science, foreign affairs and business which strike a perfect balance between the vanilla generalities you could find in the AP and the narrow focus websites which assume some level of technical fluency.

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