Saturday, March 26, 2011

Not good news for the Times

Bob Herbert writes in his resignation letter: “I have been writing a column for 25 years, nearly 18 at The New York Times. The deadlines and demands were a useful discipline but for some time now I have grown eager to move beyond the constriction of the column format, with its rigid 800-word limit, in favor of broader and more versatile efforts.” He says he’s writing a book about “some of the great challenges facing the United States.”

And just a few weeks ago:

Frank Rich quits NYT for New York magazine

This is a real loss for the readers, and potentially a problem for the Times.

A few years ago they tried Times Select, an attempt to squeeze revenue out of their online publication by putting some of their most popular writers behind a paywall. Their writers hated it and they wound up having to scrap the whole idea. Now they're just announced a new paywall rollout and two of their best columnists have departed.

I know the new model is different, but doesn't this seem like one more disincentive for people to visit their site, or to accumulate enough page views to get into the pay zone?

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