Opinion Blog: New York Times Paywall-innovation or blunder?

April 20, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Erin Goldsmith
egoldsmith@mail.smu.edu

It’s official: The New York Times online content is now blocked by a paywall.

According to MSNBC, the paper is charging $15 every four weeks, or $195 a year, to read more than 20 articles a month on its site. Apple users, including iPhone and iPad junkies, can access the third-largest U.S. newspaper for only $20 every four weeks, or $260 annually. A digital subscription covering the website and both mobile options costs $35 every four weeks, or $455 annually.

Despite these daunting numbers, the math makes sense. When you break it down, a digital subscription costs roughly $1.25 a day. When compared to the nearly $2 the paper costs at Starbucks you actually save money.

The idea may be intuitive but the Times’ follow-through is lacking. The numerous subscription plans can be confusing to the consumer.

Say you are a multi-platform user—Smart phone in hand, iPad tucked under your arm, and laptop bound in your briefcase, you are the quintessential 21st Century media user. Sadly, this type of user, which is rapidly becoming the norm, is overlooked by The New York Times’ subscription plans.

If you want to read the paper on both your Smartphone and iPad, you’ll have to buy two separate subscriptions. Don’t worry though, The New York Times will gladly charge you $35 every four weeks for your double subscriptions.

As if the subscription costs aren’t confusing enough, it get’s worse. Readers coming from a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, get five free articles per search service per day. There are no limits on the amount of traffic coming from Facebook and Twitter, however. Basically, you can access the NYT as much as you’d like if you access the site from Facebook and Twitter.

Considering this, why charge in the first place?

In the weeks after adding a paywall the site has been the brunt jokes and scrutiny. The Huffington Post went so far to announce a payment plan just for New York Times’ employees who wished to gain access to the site. The announcement, which was later confirmed as an April Fool’s joke, poked fun at The Times for its crazy payment plan.

Payment plans are understandable. In today’s news market, everything seems to be going digital. Why not capitalize on this? The Times is only receiving scrutiny because it is on the forefront of this idea.

Will The New York Times paywall be a success? Will people pay for the site’s content or will readers go to free sites like The Huffington Post instead? With so many different options, including free access through social media sites, it doesn’t seem like a subscription is necessary.

Daily Update: Wednesday, April 13

April 13, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Why did the SMU student senate voted against the minority seat? What is the future of print journalism? And what emotional goodbye took place yesterday? Find out all this and more on your Daily Update!

Daily Update: Wednesday, April 13 from SMUDailyMustang.com on Vimeo.

VIDEO: Campaigning Begins for General Election

March 22, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Andy Garcia
atgarcia@smu.edu

A program that will bring national news publications to campus now has the support of the SMU’s Student Senate.

Elections for next year’s Legislature are coming soon, so make sure to keep an eye out for candidate Facebook groups and webpages.

Campus News Blog: Digital Media Pros Give Out Advice (and Hope) for Future Journalists

November 9, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Jaimie Siegle

So I was enjoying a veggie wrap and a Diet Coke with Anthony Moor and Linda Leavell, editors at The Dallas Morning News who were guest speakers at the Meadows School of the Arts’ third annual Digital Threads symposium. (Linda also happens to sign off on my check as a DMN intern so, natch, I wanted to visit/schmooze with her a bit.)

Linda spoke earlier at Digital Threads about how newspapers (specifically the DMN) have used Twitter to break news, although it has yet to replace stories in the actual, physical paper. She referenced the recent Fort Hood shooting, and how the Morning News tweeted any and all information they had, as well as re-tweeted information from the Austin American-Statesman – even though some of the information floating throughout cyberspace turned out to be inaccurate.

Moor commented about this during our chat over lunch, saying that Twitter was an excellent way to provide the public with information – accurate or not – but that the next-day newspaper was still necessary to provide people with a cohesive, truthful account of events. He said a newspaper story should “synthesize” the information rather than blast headlines that make readers piece together stories themselves.

This is wonderful, wonderful thing for us fledgling journalists. It is one more testimony that says newspapers may not be defunct once we fly the college coop.