The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

New York Times erects paywall on digital content

As the journalism industry shifts more toward digital content, major newspapers like The New York Times are trying to make reading the paper online just like picking up a copy of the print edition. Unfortunately for readers, that means having to pay for online content as well.

The New York Times enacted a change in its online services Monday, requiring users to become digital subscribers if they read more than 20 articles per month. On the Times’ smart phone and tablet apps, only the Top News section will remain free of charge.

Readers who want unlimited access to and the Times smart phone app will have to pay $3.75 per week. For access to and the Times tablet app, the price is $5.00 per week, and for all three, $8.75 per week.

For those who already subscribe to the Times via home delivery, which typically costs $11.70 per week, all digital content will be available at no extra charge.

Charging for digital content is vital to the future of journalism, said Gail Perlick, a lecturer in the College of Communication.

“You can’t just give this stuff away,” Perlick said. “If the newspapers don’t start charging for content, they won’t have any money to pay smart people to write the articles.”

But how consumers will react to the changes is still a mystery, said George Corliss, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“Historically, newspapers arose in capitalistic societies because someone could make money doing it,” Corliss said in an e-mail. “In the Internet age, news is available for free, but it costs money to gather and report high quality news. It remains to be seen whether the public will pay for quality.”

Corliss said some consumers will likely subscribe to newspapers like the Times without hesitation. Others, however, will only pay up to a certain amount, and yet others will only browse free content.

The Times has already run into headaches with its digital subscriptions, as tech junkies have taken advantage of a loophole that allows users to follow links to Times articles on Facebook and Twitter and read the linked content for free. Many Times reporters and columnists post links to their articles on these sites.

The Times’ introduction of digital subscriptions is very much an experiment in the industry, said Syed Akhter, chair of the marketing department.

“Everyone is watching them to see how consumers will respond,” Akhter said.

The move also reflects a debate within the journalism industry between charging for digital content and increasing advertising online. But Akhter and Corliss said both models are viable, and some combination could emerge as the dominant model.

Above all, Corliss said, newspapers need to be flexible.

“In the Internet age, the agile shall survive and prosper,” he said. “We hope Marquette teaches agility.”

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *