Daily Intel headline:
New York Times Ready to Charge Online Readers
No, I have no idea why they italicized it like that, either, and though they do it again in the article, it's otherwise worth reading for the presentation of the various pro and con lines of thought.
(Before you panic, it's not exactly going to start tomorrow.)
I can't at all fault the NYT for wanting to get paid for their work. I will say that I'm sad that they can't stick it out and see if online advertising eventually becomes sufficiently lucrative to keep site access free. I have a feeling that after enough other papers go belly-up, and/or the bulk of the readership moves away from print for whatever reason, those print ad dollars will have to find some place else to go. But, I can understand that it would probably take near-bottomless pockets to hang in there until that happens.
The bigger worry, both as a fan of the NYT and as a concerned citizen, is that not all that many people will be willing to pay, and will start getting more of their news from other sites that stay free. Not that the NYT is unquestionably the best news source, forever, but practically speaking, there aren't a whole lot of others who even come close. I suppose if all the good, serious news sites start charging at the same time, that would alleviate the problem somewhat, but it doesn't take too much indulging in cynicism to think that if all real news sites cost money, we're really going to be aggravating the tendency of people to get all of their information from one channel at best, and from chain emails, more likely.
I mean, how do you even debunk, say, the rumor that Trig is not actually Sarah Palin's baby unless you can link to a credible site that everyone can access?
(h/t: KK, via email)