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
    Mr. Lucas Brice, 2 Nov 2007 @ 4:10pm

    Worst Newsaper in the US

    Along with the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe, the New York Times is one of the most left-leaning, biased newspapers in the US. They could redesign their website and pay for my groceries for a year and I still wouldn't read their paper. I wouldn't use the NY Times to line a birdcage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2007 @ 4:26pm

    Agreed, Mr. Brice.

    Fortunately bytes are a lot easier to recycle, so I guess there's some at least some good to come of it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    information-times-now, 2 Nov 2007 @ 5:46pm


    Wait a second. Mr. Brice? You don't like book reviews do you?

    Obviously--Techdirt is (and others are) far ahead of the New York Times technology reporting, it's a different standard.

    How would you like to see the best blog articles and comment threads in print distribution? It wouldn't be hard to get rights from the bloggers, and a "certain kind of reader" would have a truly different perspective.

    On the web, the equivalent of the Sunday paper is hard to find.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. Sunday Paper Still Unique Experience

    The Sunday morning experience with your paper can never be replaced by the web. Everyone has their special place that they spend reading about, well everything. Even certain ads each week are enjoyed, along with the comics of course.

    Online though, I have never embraced any papers website. Maybe if they start designing "web friendly" sites and start including interesting and different content than they do now, I might try them again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2007 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Worst Newsaper in the US

    You don't have to read the paper or the web site.

    You don't need it because you have Faux News and Rush Limburger.

    G-d forbid you might open your mind to other opinions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jimmy, 3 Nov 2007 @ 10:07am

    Re: Worst Newsaper in the US

    And I'll bet you only read the most right-leaning, biased newspapers in the US that I wouldnt line my birdcage with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    information-times-now, 3 Nov 2007 @ 2:14pm

    Everybody Loves Good Hot Synergy

    When I was twenty, the newspaper was the honored, vaunted source of news. In NYC, that meant NYT or WSJ, take your pick. Sorry The Post, you didn't make the cut.
    The Internet at that time (pre-lots-o-blogs,pre-Google relevence) was innocently and uselessly a lot more noise than signal.
    Now it can tend to phenomenal breakthrough articles and ideas, or openly hostile scams, big, fast range of information.

    But, and this is a challenge--name a non-trivial reason 90% of the best blog writers in a week would turn down a chance to get published, in PRINT, in an International paper.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    John, 4 Nov 2007 @ 1:40am

    Re: Worst Newsaper in the US

    Your probably don't have much time to read anyway. Maybe you could read it when Fox news goes on a commercial break?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Steve R., 4 Nov 2007 @ 1:46pm

    There May be Hope for the Times

    I have been highly critical of the Times. It appeared to me that all they would do is repackage pro-content producer press releases as so-called news. No investigative or analytical reporting. It was especially bad when the Sony rootkit debacle broke. The Times basically ignored this whole story. The few articles they did publish were sympathetic articles on necessity of the music industry to combat piracy. The fact that the Sony was trespassing onto your computer to turn it into a "zombie" was ignored.

    For a left wing newspaper, this would appear to be schizophrenic behavior. But as the producer of content, I could see why they would want to "protect" the value of their content. I guess the obvious conclusion, the newspaper's left wing bias is only skin deep. When it comes to money, they are or were as right wing as you could get.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Blue, 5 Nov 2007 @ 6:18am

    Re: Worst Newsaper in the US

    That ‘left leaning paper’ (ha) was all gung-ho for the Iraq war. They parroted back all the BushCo talking points. I don’t understand why righties don’t love ‘em.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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