It looks like The New York Times is going to implement some kind of system where you have to pay to read the website. For my part, unless they’re charging some really absurd fee, I’ll happy pony up the money. I think that if newspaper publishers think that people in general “should pay to read our content” they’re insane—there are just way too many newspapers. But the Financial Times is very good and I pay for it already, the New York Times is also very good and I’ll pay for it too. I’m not sure there’s any other paper I’d pay for, though.
But this raises the question from a blogger’s point of view of how I should react to a paid model for the Times. Obviously if there’s some really unique piece of reporting that it’s the NYT and not anyplace else, I’ll link to it. But a lot of news stories are slightly routine—everyone has a writeup of major political and foreign developments. So will I owe it to the readers to find Washington Post or AP or Reuters or BBC or Politico versions of those stories to link to? Or should I try to send a clear message to everyone that they ought to suck it up and pay to read the best newspaper in the world? Personally, I’d find it regrettable if the result of this decision was that I wound up spending more time publicizing inferior news sources but I’d also find it regrettable if the result was that I’m linking to more stuff that people can’t click through.