new york times August 22, 2018 11:59 AM   Subscribe

There's an intriguing post up on the main page about a young fly fisher, but it's NYT, and anyone who spends more than an hour or so (not to mention weeks on end) on the Trump megathreads has safely exhausted their NYT article alotment. Those same threads are not very supportive of the idea of giving NYT money: what are we to do?
posted by not_that_epiphanius to Etiquette/Policy at 11:59 AM (64 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Does private/incognito mode not work on NYT? I don't read NYT but it's what I do for WaPo articles and my local paper.
posted by selfnoise at 12:08 PM on August 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


Incognito mode works in NYT.

While we're at it, however - incognito mode does NOT work on the Boston Globe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:09 PM on August 22, 2018 [9 favorites]


Those same threads are not very supportive of the idea of giving NYT money: what are we to do?

We could attempt to explain how one could not consider the NYT worthy of one's financial support, and yet routinely read more than the allotted free articles every single month since November.

(Seriously: if you don't want to support the NYT financially, that's a valid choice. So stop reading, or pay up after you are done reading for free.)
posted by DarlingBri at 12:15 PM on August 22, 2018 [65 favorites]


A MeFi blocklist of "publishers you should not support" seems incredibly difficult to maintain and a potential slippery slope. It's a reasonable thing to discuss but maybe not something to build in to the site?
posted by bbuda at 12:20 PM on August 22, 2018 [8 favorites]


You can open up a different browser and start your free articles count over again, also. But sooner or later, I hope you decided that good journalism, whether about Washington or about flyfishing, is worth paying for.
posted by beagle at 12:21 PM on August 22, 2018 [17 favorites]


Go to the library and read the print version in a nice armchair.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:21 PM on August 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


Go to the library and read the print version in a nice armchair.

People could do that, yes. But it makes that rather hard to participate in conversations when people link to the web version on Metafilter, which - to remind you - is the entire point of this thread specifically.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:35 PM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


While we're at it, however - incognito mode does NOT work on the Boston Globe.

Kind of intriguing that the BG has figured this out, but NYT has not.
posted by Melismata at 12:46 PM on August 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh, if you do want to support the NYT (as I once did), be aware it's super simple to start a subscription online. If you want to cancel a subscription, you must call a phone number, and then talk to a human being.

Unlike the Guardian, they don't have a simple way to give them money outright, without ending up in a dark pattern that tries to prevent you from stopping a subscription.

Some libraries offer free access to the NYT.

Seriously, if you don't want to support the NYT financially, you can still get free access to their content (including using incognito mode).
posted by el io at 12:46 PM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think it's immensely counterproductive to argue against paying for journalism. The NYTimes isn't perfect, but it sure is better than the Wild Wild West of the web in general. If we don't pay for journalism, how do we expect to get anything but the most superficial of "news"?
posted by peacheater at 12:46 PM on August 22, 2018 [28 favorites]


So they produce so much great content that you quickly exhaust what you can read for free... but they don't produce great content so you don't want to financially support them?

This paradox needs a name.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 12:50 PM on August 22, 2018 [27 favorites]


Go to the library and read the print version in a nice armchair.

Use a library card to gain access electronically.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:51 PM on August 22, 2018 [10 favorites]


I could care less if people sneak around the NYT paywall but dear god if I never have to hear "cancel your subscription" again it will be too soon
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:51 PM on August 22, 2018 [25 favorites]


My solution for most paywalls (I subscribe to NYT and WSJ) is to click on my Pocket icon when blocked. It then saves a readable version on my Pocket account.

Also, Torontonians who don't know: free sub to NYT with your library card.
posted by dobbs at 12:58 PM on August 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


I could care less if people sneak around the NYT paywall but dear god if I never have to hear "cancel your subscription" again it will be too soon.

Amen.

For clarity, I was attempting to cancel my subscription to their crosswords, which I had found myself not using at all.
posted by el io at 1:02 PM on August 22, 2018


Question answered; is there anything to be gained from keeping this thread open?
posted by duffell at 1:03 PM on August 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


> I think it's immensely counterproductive to argue against paying for journalism. The NYTimes isn't perfect, but it sure is better than the Wild Wild West of the web in general. If we don't pay for journalism, how do we expect to get anything but the most superficial of "news"?

What peacheater said. The railing against the NYT is one of the more tiresome tropes here at the People's Republic of MetaFilter. No, it's not Jacobin, but if you seriously think the world would be a better place without its reporting you're lost in the Cloud of Unknowing. I personally subscribe to the Sunday edition and am happy to do so; I don't give a damn if you find workarounds to evade their model, but for Pete's sake don't pat yourself on the back as if you personally had stormed the Bastille. Moral posturing is never pleasant to witness, especially when the morality is dubious.
posted by languagehat at 1:05 PM on August 22, 2018 [53 favorites]


i do miss the days when it was somewhat standard to put (SLNYT) next to nyt links in fpps, if only so i don't waste an article while on my phone.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:09 PM on August 22, 2018 [20 favorites]


There's an intriguing post up on the main page about a young fly fisher, but it's NYT, and anyone who spends more than an hour or so (not to mention weeks on end) on the Trump megathreads has safely exhausted their NYT article alotment. Those same threads are not very supportive of the idea of giving NYT money: what are we to do?

What is this 'we' stuff, as if there needs to be universal concensus? The New York Times is one of the most respected and accomplished newspapers in the United States and breaks critical news every day. If you don't like it, don't read it.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 1:11 PM on August 22, 2018 [17 favorites]


Torontonians who don't know: free sub to NYT with your library card

WHAT
posted by kate blank at 1:13 PM on August 22, 2018


what are we to do?

This is somewhat orthogonal to the main intent of your question, I think, but: one thing that's already been discussed, but remains helpful, that if you're posting a link to the NYT (or the Post, or the Globe, or whatever) to label the source -- not as a requirement, or a rule, but just a general hey-this-is-helpful-to-people courtesy so that you know if you're about to use up your allotment of free articles or not; or whether you're about to close-and-reopen the link if you're bypassing the paywall or as a reminder of where this journalist is coming from -- a byline, along those lines, is also nice. This is particularly handy on mobile, since you can't as easily hover to see where a link goes.
posted by cjelli at 1:15 PM on August 22, 2018 [17 favorites]


> Kind of intriguing that the BG has figured this out, but NYT has not.

The NYT is fully aware that browsers in privacy mode are an end-run around their article count limit. Official policy is that they consider it a minor exploit not worth addressing*. They have a better perspective on their site analytics than we do so I'm inclined to believe them if they say the volume of traffic due to "cheating" is too small for them to care about.

*(browser beware: The Columbia Journalism Review's website, itself, misbehaves badly in the presence of ad blockers and privacy modes.)
posted by ardgedee at 2:23 PM on August 22, 2018 [9 favorites]


> ...on mobile, since you can't as easily hover to see where a link goes

Hold your finger down on a link. An option menu will pop up; at the top of the menu will be the site URL. (Somebody once said that there is a mobile browser that does not do this but didn't say which one; I want to know because across maybe a dozen different mobile browsers I've tried they all do this in some form.)
posted by ardgedee at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2018


Here's a crazy idea. What if part of membership came with access to a few resources like the NYT? What if those of us who could afford it created a new level of membership where part of the membership fees helped fund access for the whole community to quality resources like WaPo, the NYT, and supported resources like ProPublica, NPR, or the Guardian? What if we acted like an institution of higher learning and negotiated for access and supported these kinds of organizations, not as individuals, but as a community? Could that even work? Would they talk to us?
posted by Stanczyk at 2:53 PM on August 22, 2018 [19 favorites]


Incognito works well on Boston Globe for me. Anyhow, one more voice in general appreciation for the NY Times. I just don't visit the Opinion section or hate-read the articles that seem to rankle many here. I do follow Times journalists on Twitter and specifically read their work.
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 3:01 PM on August 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


It is not paradoxical to both read NYT articles and desire the paper to improve from what some consider to be a criminally complicit role in the destruction of American democracy, effected by refusing to support them financially. In many ways, they are the only game in town. Suggesting that this position is somehow inconsistent comes across as being made in bad faith.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:12 PM on August 22, 2018 [23 favorites]


kateblank: WHAT

Yes indeed!

Also, TPL (along with a lot of other public libraries) has free Pressreader access for a bunch of other papers as well (e.g., paywalled Globe & Mail, etc).

Here's a crazy idea. What if part of membership came with access to a few resources like the NYT? What if those of us who could afford it created a new level of membership where part of the membership fees helped fund access for the whole community to quality resources like WaPo, the NYT, and supported resources like ProPublica, NPR, or the Guardian? What if we acted like an institution of higher learning and negotiated for access and supported these kinds of organizations, not as individuals, but as a community? Could that even work? Would they talk to us?

This is an interesting question. I'm not quite sure how the free (to patrons) access arranged by public libraries actually works. Perhaps one of the many fantastic librarians here on Metafilter could shed light on how these arrangements actually work behind the scenes?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:21 PM on August 22, 2018 [3 favorites]


What if we acted like an institution of higher learning

We're hosting a kegger at the M E Φ house this weekend! Party hearty, eat beans, and blow off your megathreads.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 3:25 PM on August 22, 2018 [16 favorites]


What if we acted like an institution of higher learning and negotiated for access and supported these kinds of organizations, not as individuals, but as a community? Could that even work? Would they talk to us?

Sure, they’d talk to you. Or rather, their contracted entity who handles institutional subscriptions would talk to you. But to put it simply, the multiple that they charge for an institutional subscription is usually absurdly, insultingly high in proportion to actual use. You are far, far better off buying an individual subscription or three and sharing the user name and password of those when needed. Both more realistic and more economical while still supporting the journalists.
posted by librarylis at 5:06 PM on August 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


I've given tens of dollars in small increments over the past couple of years to the Guardian, after reading articles I found particularly enlightening, interesting, or entertaining. That's tens of dollars more than I've ever paid for any newspaper before. I don't read anything enough to subscribe to it, but asking for a small tip at the end of an article pays off for them every so often, when I've read a good one or just have read a fair number recently. I wish every newspaper would just have a one time donation buttons. I can't recall seeing that at the NYT.
posted by Caduceus at 5:07 PM on August 22, 2018 [5 favorites]


I delete my cookies.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:31 PM on August 22, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm not quite sure how the free (to patrons) access arranged by public libraries actually works. Perhaps one of the many fantastic librarians here on Metafilter could shed light on how these arrangements actually work behind the scenes?

As librarylis says, it would probably be cheaper for everyone to buy their own subscription. I know people who tried to do this with the OED a ways back... everyone chips in a little and they can all share the resource, above-board. I don't remember how it all worked out except that it didn't.

I pay for the Guardian, I get my NYT access through the library, or minor exploits.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:19 PM on August 22, 2018 [6 favorites]


What if we acted like an institution of higher learning

Then you'd have to pay for the privilege of commenting, then pay again to see your comment after it was approved.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:44 PM on August 22, 2018 [11 favorites]


I don’t know what you’re to do, but I subscribe to Sunday home delivery which comes with 2 free all digital access accounts. Mine are spoken for but perhaps there could be similar piggyback/sharing arrangements for those of you who read the NYT just about daily.

And I’m so glad to see I’m not alone in being totally sick of lazy NYT hate. Honestly it just makes people seem like they don’t know how to read a newspaper.
posted by Miko at 8:47 PM on August 22, 2018 [9 favorites]


The NYTimes isn't perfect, but it sure is better than the Wild Wild West of the web in general

They don't have to be perfect. I'm not asking for that. It's just that not fluffing nazis is kind of a low bar.

They fail at this because while you and I would prefer the Newspaper to be credible, the Management has goals that differ somewhat entirely from that.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:49 PM on August 22, 2018 [11 favorites]


what are we to do?

This seems more like something for Ask than it does for MetaTalk. It isn’t the site’s job to provide free access to the NYT.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:38 PM on August 22, 2018 [7 favorites]


Wow. I guess I framed my question poorly.

Suggesting that this position is somehow inconsistent comes across as being made in bad faith.

I guess so, though I don't get why, exactly, even after re-reading. I can't think of a way of rephrasing what seemed a genuine not terribly divisive question. For what it's worth, if the intent of languagehat and lazaruslong was to sting, you were both successful.

I'd rather not continue this exchange, your points have been taken and felt, including the helpful discussions on incognito mode, and the Toronto library cards, as well as the stabbier ones.

I will however stick around to face any further music coming my way.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:41 PM on August 22, 2018


I could care less if people sneak around the NYT paywall but dear god if I never have to hear "cancel your subscription" again it will be too soon

I have to say that I have been tempted in my more petty moments to, whenever I post the sort of informative NYT article that everyone takes for granted*, append a "Renew. Your. Subscription." to my comment just to draw attention to how much of what we discuss comes from NYT.

*When at one point the cancel comments had grated on my last nerve (tucking it into some glurge like "take care of yourselves; cancel your subscriptions; hug your puppies" I think was my breaking point), I did a little analysis on what was then the most-recently-completed megathread, using regexes to identify all links. The NYT was the 3rd most common link target. (WaPo, simultaneously an occasional "cancel your subscriptions" target, the first paper to lose access to Trump rallies for negative coverage, and host to David Farenthold's Pulitzer-winning investigations of the Trump Foundation, was 2nd behind Twitter, and of course many of the tweets linked were to NYT and WaPo reporters, though I didn't actually count those).

I then categorized NYT and WaPo links as "informative stuff that doesn't get any pushback", "criticized as access journalism", "redneck safari", "leftward opinion piece", and "rightward opinion piece". The vast majority of news that we linked and talked about was just bread-and-butter informative stuff. Only a small fraction of fell into the "access journalism" category. Redneck safaris and rightward opinion pieces obviously exist but they were very rarely actually linked. I also visited every NYT and WaPo link and collected bylines to see how many articles megathread bete noire Maggie Haberman had slithered her bete-ly tentacles noires into. It was something like 4 articles out of 40. (It was also interesting to see just how many different reporters these papers get stories from- there was really no author with very many stories to their name).

I also counted comments criticizing the NYT and WaPo and replies to them. Criticism of the papers (especially if we count criticism of Haberman in particular) was much more common than defense of the papers. Opposition to the criticism of the papers was largely limited to meta discussion like "we can make up our own minds about these papers" or "I'm done hearing about this". I didn't see anyone mount an affirmative defense of the papers themselves in the thread I analyzed. I very much wanted to but mod notes have made it clear that "cancel" vs. "stop talking about cancelling" is a done topic, and I doubt that "actually the NYT and WaPo are fucking awesome" is far enough from the closed topic to fly.

In conclusion, we take the NYT and WaPo mostly for granted unless we're complaining about them, renew your subscription, silenced all my life.
posted by Jpfed at 12:14 AM on August 23, 2018 [53 favorites]


A direct result of the US 2016 election was that I renewed my Guardian subscription and started a Washington Post subscription. I don't even live in the US, but events there impact the rest of the world. Good journalism matters and I thought it was time that I paid for something I'm an avid consumer of.

The WP gives me a free digital pass every month, so if anyone wants to use the next one, MeMail me and I'll start sharing it in rotation.
posted by arcticseal at 12:28 AM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Really interesting work, Jpfed. Back when the trend here was still Internet utopianism jumping on the "dead tree" media in general, I did something similar with one day's FPPs to illustrate the notion that most of what we discuss here is generated by professional media outlets and that we should value them more highly. I have nowhere near your technical skills, so it was informal and analog. But you've revealed something really important.

I think that a lot of reactionary newspaper hate is a function of the fact that many people no longer consume the news as a package. When you read a print newspaper, you have many more cues about the context for a story - the weight, the positioning, the balance with other material, the sectioning. Designers have done a lot to try to replicate that on web editions, but what they can never design out is the fact that a lot of people now consume news-org products piecemeal - following a Twitter link or a MeFi link. That makes it far harder to understand the news organization as a whole, as a content-generating machine with a complex and varied output, and lends itself to perceptions of a strong interest, habit, or bias on the part of the org that really looks different from the impression formed when reading the source as a whole. Understanding a paper (or whatever outlet) as a whole system, with different parts that have different goals, roles, and reasons for being, changes the way you view any single piece.

News literacy is also a huge issue. There is routinely backlash against op-eds, and though there is plenty to criticize about the editorial choices that produce op-eds, they do what it says on the tin: opinion columns traditionally printed opposite (not representative of) the content on the editorial page. There are some of us who actually want to read what the "other side[s]" think, so we can understand the shifting tactics and ruling thought patterns of those folks. I'm glad those points of view are often represented in the major papers, so I don't have to go to their sticky, unsettling lairs to read them. There's also an ongoing and iterative nature to this kind of material - and even journalistic coverage - that gets lost when single pieces, reporters or article types are targeted for dismissal. The reader/reporter/editor discussion evolves within the structures of the paper itself, and if you're consuming the news via the likes of Twitter (or MeFi callout) only, you're just not part of that iteration. Calling out a news org for lazy or pernicious moves is well within the tradition of readership, and no news org should stand above critique - but critiques make so much more sense when understood in terms of .a whole, complex organization that provides a tremendous range of services, not just one or two hot-button political pieces a day.

Besides the obvious point that at the most shallow level, if you're talking about it, they've done their job.
posted by Miko at 4:41 AM on August 23, 2018 [22 favorites]


For what it's worth, if the intent of languagehat and lazaruslong was to sting, you were both successful.

I'm....honestly not entirely sure how you think my comment was remotely directed at you. It wasn't. There are multiple comments near the start of the thread suggesting that the only tenable position was to either pay up or not read the NYT. That's what I was pushing back against. No sting intended, and apologies for the misunderstanding.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:40 AM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


[New York Times]

^ I make this notation for pretty much all links I share/post. It's not something anyone is obligated to do by any means, post how you want to post.

But if you are inclined or you have a few extra keystrokes in you, join in and make the destination/link a bit more easily recognizable and prominent. It's helpful for certain community members. I'm sure many don't give a shit and will either click or not click based on their interest. But I do this because I like knowing where I'm clicking and it's now a habit. Just my two cents.
posted by Fizz at 5:47 AM on August 23, 2018 [7 favorites]


In conclusion, we take the NYT and WaPo mostly for granted unless we're complaining about them

I think a lot of people have nuanced ideas about the NYT and WaPo, and some of those ideas are brought about by their own business practices and choices. When ad revenue was more profitable, both of those papers cheerfully allowed folks to read their articles for free, or when news was important and breaking, would allow access to that important, breaking, front page news for free.

Now there is an abundance of important, breaking, front page news that the American public desperately needs to be informed about - there is a terror in the White House and real horrible things happening that people must know. And yet even articles like 'Trump implicated' are still facing the same 'I'm sorry, it looks like you've used up your free news articles, and don't get to be informed!' And it just sits poorly in my mouth, to be both claiming you're journalists, the truest, best people, getting the information to the people, and then also be like 'but this story of absolute crucial importance is restricted to people who individually subscribe'. If you're with me in the fight, then I want to help - but if you're prioritizing profit over the fight, I can subscribe to a local paper that puts its news online instead.

That said, I support putting a bracketed link to anything that's going to be paywalled, like the NYT, or the WSJ, or WaPo. It's helpful for your fellow members and it also, if you want to highlight the news sources themselves, lets folks know where journalism is coming from.
posted by corb at 6:32 AM on August 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


I don't note links from certain sources any more, because of the volume of predictable complaints about the source of the link which have nothing to do with its actual content.

I share people's frustration with the Times' right wing opeds and their 'white nationalists are people with a point, too' idiocy. But the shitty derails make me want to not bother to participate at all. If people can't be bothered to engage with actual linked content and are incapable of doing anything more than grinding their axes, I see no need to accommodate them.
posted by zarq at 6:46 AM on August 23, 2018 [7 favorites]


People who are just crabbing about the source of the link and not engaging with the topic of the post are threadshitting and those comments should be deleted.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:57 AM on August 23, 2018 [28 favorites]


When ad revenue was more profitable, [the NYT and WaPo] cheerfully allowed folks to read their articles for free, or when news was important and breaking, would allow access to that important, breaking, front page news for free.
...
If you're with me in the fight, then I want to help - but if you're prioritizing profit over the fight, I can subscribe to a local paper that puts its news online instead.


If I was going to single out 'papers which go out of their way to block free readers,' neither the NYT nor the Post would be in my top five: the free limit is trivially circumvented, and both papers are -- I would assume -- making a conscious choice to leave it that way rather than moving to a more restrictive model. Like: my local paper has more restrictions for online access than either one -- both at my neighborhood paper and regional/city paper. (It sounds like your own local paper does a better job, which is great).

Also, and maybe more important, it's worth noting that they do routinely suspend their paywalls when breaking, important news happens -- it's just that they're setting the bar a bit higher than you are -- during hurricane harvey in 2017, "Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 and the presidential election in 2016" (for three days around the actual election) -- they would, one imagines, suspend it again if something sufficiently important came up, but as crazy as Cohen/Manafort was earlier this week (for example) it clearly wasn't of the same timely importance as election coverage. I'd personally think a Saturday Night Massacre redux would rise to that level (as an example of 'political coverage that might happen') but -- a lot of important, breaking news is...actually perfectly fine to wait a day to read? Or a week? Not that it's not important, but rather, it won't stop being important within a day.

News isn't free. Making a profit -- or rather, not losing money -- is necessary to keep the presses running and keep reporters on the street covering important and breaking news. 'Free news 24/7' is, essentially, the CNN model (/other cable news) and I'm personally thankful every day that neither the NYT nor the WaPo have embraced the idea that a constant free-to-the-viewer stream of news is way forward for journalism.
posted by cjelli at 7:06 AM on August 23, 2018 [11 favorites]


Here's the problem I have with paywalls: I can't be arsed because they suck.

Seriously, even when they are free with a sign up I won't bother. Why? Again, because they suck. I'm not talking the money, but that is an element, I am talking the implementation. I had multiple subscriptions to multiple sites. I couldn't stay logged in across devices. I'd go home, for some stupid reason, the iOS app version of the site would insist I log in, so I do, then next day my laptop is logged out. I finally got to a point where I was paying for access and still routing around the paywalls because it was easier to do so.

And they suck at figuring out how many times I've actually been there. At work and home I am behind a NAT. At home this often means my free articles are divided by half. At work it means my free articles are divided by 25,000.

And I think they especially suck at counting what counts as a "read" article. Just because I clicked the link, doesn't mean I read the content. I get "too many read" warnings on sites I abhor and would never support or read. Sites I do not consider credible, unbiased, or quality, but for whatever reason I clicked. I spend a lot of time bouncing rom site to site, following links from The Hill or wherever. I read maybe 10% of what actually initially catches my attention. A lot of times, I never even look at the content. I just open it in a browser tab and intend to go to it later, but later never comes.

And then there was the fact that the experience is essentially the same as the non-paying one. If I am going to pay, then fuck seeing ads, and I want something more than just more articles. Give me some exclusive content. 90% of the time, when you run into an article limit, if you just search on the headline you will find 20 other sites also covering the story.

And then there's the idea of how many do you support? I consistently run into my free limit across many sites. Again, when the stories covered are 95% the same, paying for access to that other 5% seems off. So do you pick one to support and then route around the rest, or do you pay from them all, even though you essentially get the same content on all? My budget, and my attention, are finite. Every service I add devalues the others.

And then there's the no sharing of accounts thing. Netflix allows me to create multiple accounts. If I buy a physical paper I can share that as well. But I either have to share a sign on with my partner, or she needs to buy her own.

I receive employer paid for access to NYT and Washington Post and others, and again, I find the interfaces too cumbersome to bother. I don't really need additional logins and passwords to manage, especially when they fail to work a good half the time.

I get it. Journalism needs supported. I worked for Gannett for 13 years. But I don't think they have figured out a model that works yet. I support PBS and IPR/NPR because they are my primary news sources, so I'm totally willing to pay for content. But there's the rub as well. Both the basic levels of support for these products seem reasonable to me ($60 for PBS, $35 for NPR). I just don't believe I get $150 of value a year out of the NYT.

What I would love is some sort of federated service. Something I could kick into and I got charged according to usage. Or an all included subscription like Netflix where I pay and I get one sign on that works across a slew of properties. Even if my Gannett subscription worked across all Gannett properties I'd be more apt to pay.

And then there's the fact that the product sucks. I don't mean the content, I mean the delivery. 9,000 beacons, ad services, trackers, potential crapware/malware, and a payload that is getting ridiculously large and processor intensive. 100% of the time if my computer fans go off it's because some content in a browser tab of a news site is eating up 110% of my CPU.

And the appearance sucks. My iPad screen is literally larger than my laptop screen and much higher resolution, yet ever site insists on giving me the mobile version.

The news site experience blows chunks and is getting worse.

Asking people to pay for it because journalism is important is like asking people to support 20 different grocers because produce is important. I'm all for that, but don't expect me to buy overpriced rotten fruit just because I value shopping local.

I realize not all the above criticisms apply to every site (NYT does let you give a second account for example).
posted by cjorgensen at 7:27 AM on August 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


I live outside the US and don't get paywalled on the New York Times, so perhaps a non-US VPN might help.

I don't know if it's a bug or if they just don't think it's worth trying to collect subscriptions from overseas, but it always tells me I have 4 free articles remaining and that doesn't change no matter how many articles I read.
posted by winterhill at 7:33 AM on August 23, 2018


I am currently very annoyed at the New York Times because their redesigned website somehow manages to get around my Word Replacer extension that is supposed to change the name of the president to "Stupid Jerkface" wherever it occurs on a page. I cannot read the news without this.
posted by JanetLand at 7:49 AM on August 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


What I would love is some sort of federated service.

That idea has been kicking around for a long time without getting sufficient traction. I've worked on some of the efforts around this. Basically, EZ-Pass for news. (EZ-Pass being an east coast multi-state highway toll automation system, the same gadget gets you through tolls in any member state.) Even though newspapers mostly are not competing for readers, they are notoriously resistant to giving up "control" over their customers or "sharing" user data. So the devil has been in the details.

That said, a federated service would still have the implementation issues you describe; it needs to "just work" (in Jobs speak) across all devices and platforms, and that's easier said than done. And even if it did that, another point of failure would be the enormous disparity in quality across individual news sites. So that leads to thinking about a system where all content from participating news organizations is aggregated into a single site or app with a great UX, but that just multiplies the "control" issues the content owners have. The New York Times is not going to be willing to have all its content accessed in some umbrella app it doesn't control. So that's why we are where we are.
posted by beagle at 8:48 AM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


+1 on folks noting NYT links so that we don't burn up our article quotas clicking on some of their fluff that get linked.

I had multiple subscriptions to multiple sites. I couldn't stay logged in across devices.

I subscribe to the Washington Post and FWIW I have had zero problems staying logged in on multiple devices for many months at a time if not indefinitely.
posted by exogenous at 11:40 AM on August 23, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I subscribe to Washington Post and never get logged out. Probably because I'm subbed through my Amazon account which means I'm periodically reconfirming login over on Amazon, but I dont know the implementation details.

(Not sure if they still do it, but you can get 6 months free with a Prime account at WaPo, although after that you have to pay)

My now-defunct LA Times sub did keep getting logged out all the time for whatever reason.
posted by thefoxgod at 11:46 AM on August 23, 2018


I had a local Gannett paper subscription and couldn't stay logged in for more than a couple of days. My NYT subscription logs me out on my laptop all the time, which wasn't terrible, since I use a password manager, but it's still annoying.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:32 PM on August 23, 2018


As a rare, somewhat politically conservative (although Trump hater), MetaFilter user who has hated the NYTimes for decades, I find this whole discussion bemusing. When did the liberals start hating the NYTimes too? Who reads it, the 12 people in this country still in the middle?

A good friend of mine used to be a higher up at the Times (of New York) responsible in some way for the online product. Drunkenly, at a party, I once told her I would never pay to read the NYT online. She smiled and said that me and thousands of others read the NYT and do not pay. They know. They take the positive approach seeking those with a moral compass who are willing to pay for what they take. 10 seemed to them to be the level of articles someone would read a month who had no intention of ever paying. I think they estimated their revenue would stay the same if they made that number 5 or 15 or what have you. It is just a nice round sounding number they settled on. (If my drunken self correctly remembers the conversation.)

Me? I am a morally bankrupt, conservative politically (but Trump hater!) minor exploit reader of the NY Times when it is convenient.

I support the SLNYT convention when posting.
posted by AugustWest at 1:56 PM on August 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


When did the liberals start hating the NYTimes too?

So you missed that run-up to the Iraq war, I guess?
posted by rtha at 2:52 PM on August 23, 2018 [6 favorites]


rtha: " When did the liberals start hating the NYTimes too?

So you missed that run-up to the Iraq war, I guess?
"

Which ill conceived Irag war, Bush 41 or Bush 43?
posted by AugustWest at 2:57 PM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


> When did the liberals start hating the NYTimes too?

They've been doing it in an organized way since 1986. It was a frequent target of criticism during the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration as well. You probably wouldn't have to try hard to find essays in quarterly journals published in the 50s that complain about the Times' right-wing bias, too.

The American right and left, both, have probably always complained that the Times was biased in their opposition's favor.
posted by ardgedee at 5:49 PM on August 23, 2018 [7 favorites]




And "criticizing" isn't the same as "hating."
posted by Miko at 5:59 PM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


But hey, it's fun to join in the snark at the Failing New York Times, I guess. I wish all papers failed this badly.

When they attempt to normalize Nazis, they're failing in their ethical responsibility to their readers. Ditto for their soft profiles of people like Hannity and Bannon.

When they quote Republicans twice as much as Democrats, they're doing a grave disservice to us all by providing outsized representation to one set of political arguments over another. (Yes, the Washington Post, is guilty of the same problem. Doesn't make it an acceptable or morally correct practice.)

When they give an unchallenged voice to a climate change denier (Bret Stephens) whose arguments have no basis in scientific fact, they're failing their readers as well. The paper that once proudly published Stephen Jay Gould's brilliant, thought-provoking columns about science, paleontology, baseball and esoterica has fallen so far they've hired someone who speculates without evidence that climate change is some sort of unimportant myth.

When they provide an unopposed voice to someone like Bari Weiss, who scolds their readers over identity politics she personally disapproves of, they've failed in their mission to provide news that's "fit to print." Happily, her columns are fit to line birdcages. (Also, assuming an American is an immigrant because they're not White is pretty damned racist.)

When they allow their op ed columnists like Weiss and David Brooks to regularly wring their hands over college kids "fragility", identity politics and political correctness without simultaneously shining an unflinching spotlight on the racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic words and actions of Milo Yiannopoulos, they're honestly no better than Fox News. Ironically, those columns decried left wing intolerance for free speech. Heaven forbid someone fight back against allowing the former Breitbart troll who has called for shooting journalists to be given a public megaphone.

Speaking of David Brooks, we have the infamous sandwich shop column (welcome to idiot america and the ongoing war on intellectual "elites" who eat cold cuts) and his take on gun control, which involves showing 'respect' to gun owners before we try and protect school children from them.

I suppose we should give them kudos for quickly firing the (obviously poorly vetted) columnist who had ties to white supremacists.

I grew up reading the Times and used to be a huge fan. It's not what it once was, and being better than some other newspapers that are out there is a terrible, inadequate metric with which to measure their current value. We shouldn't have to settle for that. Especially since they're being looked to as a reputable source for unbiased journalism and truthful op-eds. Something they haven't been consistent about for years now.
posted by zarq at 10:08 PM on August 23, 2018 [16 favorites]


When they quote Republicans twice as much as Democrats, they're doing a grave disservice to us all

It would be interesting to see a comparison from other timeframes. After all, the Republicans are in power. And moving fast on all fronts. They are setting the public agenda, like it or not, and everyone else is in the reactive position. There could certainly be much better and more coverage of ideas across the ideological spectrum, but quoting more Democrats is going to mean Democrats having a lot more compelling stuff to say.

I am also not going to oppose coverage of people whose actions are monstrous. I don't care whether they're Isis jihadists, Hollywood sexual predators, or American white supremacists. I do want to understand these phenomena. I find it interesting, too, that the New Yorker writes pieces like this regularly, yet doesn't seem to get targeted nearly as much. The real picture of this country and world is very much not pretty. That doesn't mean I don't want to know about the trajectories and ideas of the individual people perpetuating those systems.

Pointed criticism is fine. Blanket condemnation is lazy and silly.
posted by Miko at 4:47 AM on August 24, 2018 [15 favorites]


Every time people argue about the New York Times, I'm reminded of this:

New York Times
NEW YORK TIMES
Ya think you're better than us?
Us?
Us.
US
USA
No way.

The End
posted by FJT at 12:21 PM on August 24, 2018 [5 favorites]


One more semi-hack to read: Reader View, a Firefox feature, which you can toggle with F9 or the little page icon in the URL/search bar, bypasses the page limit and strips extraneous elements, for those who read the site on a computer.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:37 PM on August 25, 2018


I know nobody wants to do this one, but I really wish we had some way to tag all the websites that limit your viewing. I don't just mean tagging NYT or WaPo (though I totally approve of doing so), but I don't necessarily remember that the Boston Globe or whoever does it when I hardly ever look there.

At this point if I click on some site and it immediately gives me a popup about my limited number of articles, even if I haven't hit the limit yet, I'm just backing out right away. I just don't feel like dealing with this shit unless the article looks REALLY good/important any more. I'm tired of it. There are enough other websites that will recap a paid article (NYMag, Slate, Vox) that I can just find out the gist there instead. If it's a big enough story it'll be covered all over the place.

I get free access to the NYT at work now. It's never been my favorite and most of the time I could not be arsed (or alternately I just read the free copy that's left out at a place I go to meetings at) to read anything unless it seemed super important and that wasn't being covered anywhere else.
But now that I have the free access I just save more articles to Pocket and get around to reading it eventually. I used to have free WaPo access, but I have no idea what happened now because not only am I being limited, it's not working in incognito mode to get around the limit either. I haven't found anything saying they've revoked free access, so heck if I know. I have also had the login issues with both sites that others have mentioned. So for now I've given up on the Post. I've considered paying but so far just haven't wanted to cave, which I admit makes me a jerk/asshole/horrible person.

I agree with this long, excellent rant that paywalls suck and I don't want to fucking deal with them. I'm not going to be paying at every website I read and the day that goes on I'd better quit the Internet. Maybe if you are addicted to reading a certain site, but if you only look at it once in a while, are you really going to bother? I don't much like paying for electronic access to anything when it's not even like, a printed magazine. It limits how much I can pass anything on to anyone else to read. On the rare occasions when I've paid for exclusive content to something online, I tend to end up not using it, forgetting to log in and check it, it's a pain to get back in, etc.

Yes, I am an awful person for not wanting to pay for good journalism. I concur this. But so far nobody seems to have a good way around these issues.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:14 AM on August 26, 2018


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