The New York Times Finally Gets The Web

from the it's-about-time dept

Techdirt has beat up on the New York Times a lot over the years for its bone-headed use of the web. For years, it treated the website as an afterthought, serving up warmed-over versions of its print coverage and charging for the privilege. As we pointed out repeatedly, the web is different from older media. Success online requires that you be part of the conversation. Users expect a faster-paced, more connected experience from a website than you get from a newspaper. But in the last six months or so, the Times has made a series of decisions that suggests they're finally starting to understand that the web is its own medium with its own unique rules. They've dropped their paywall, launched a ton of great blogs, produced podcasts and videos, and added new personalization features. This summer, they unveiled Open, a blog by and for geeks about the use of open source technologies at the Times. And now they've launched Blogrunner, a news aggregator they snapped up last year and are integrated in various places around the site, starting with the technology section. Integrating links to other sites into their subject-specific pages makes it more likely that people will make that page their starting point for information on that subject. None of these developments are that Earthshaking by themselves, but when you add them all up it starts to look like the Grey Lady is finally taking the web seriously. Now if we can just get them to give us full-text RSS feeds of their blogs!

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  1. identicon
    adkap, 12 Mar 2008 @ 8:39am

    Put all these comments together

    Comment on the actual post:
    Yes, they were a little late in embracing the web - though the mid 90's is not really "late". Yes, the first approach involving subscription fees was misguided. However in writing about this you absolutely need to understand who you are writing about. In 1996 the Times still had a growing subscriber base worth many billions. It's leaders were all old-time experienced publishers, editors and writers -- not exactly a tech savvy bunch! There was no pressing need to invest in the net.

    The initial change of converting a 100+ year old company from producing a physical product to producing free online content was understandably slow. However, now that has grown internally into its own profitable business with employee mass, it can start making changes like you have pointed out. It was the team that forced the removal of subscription fees, the open blog, projects, and other progressive things. Its made up of geeks like you and I. The old grey lady is getting younger every day!

    Comment on the comments:
    Look at what you are saying. Some articles are biased right, some left. Sounds somewhat balanced to me. Writers and editors are only human. Occasionally some bias may slip in here and there... don't be so sensitive.

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