As many of you are aware, the New York Times is charging $15 a month for unlimited access to their content online, half the price of the print subscription. Many saw this coming and believe that the eventual model for all online content will include a paywall. Others thought that it was outrageous that journalists would restrict the flow of information to make a buck.
Two ways that the debate took place was through humor.
The Onion made their opinion known by saying, “In a move that media executives, economic forecasters, and business analysts alike are calling ‘extremely bold,’ NYTimes.com put into place a groundbreaking new business model today in which the news website will charge people money to consume the goods and services it provides,” in an article.
While Arianna Huffington went the other direction in an April Fool’s day story, “Today marks a significant transition for The Huffington Post Media Group, as we introduce digital subscriptions for employees of The New York Times.”
Rightly so, there was a serious backlash against Huffington’s post. It wasn’t that it was too offensive or that it wasn’t funny. It was that Huffington had the gall to call out the Times on trying to make a profit while many of her own contributors remain unpaid, she stands to become extremely wealthy from HuffPo’s sale to AOL, and AOL lays off the majority of its freelancers.
It appears that she has trouble understanding why the Times feels that it needs to charge for its content.
Here’s the breakdown.
While both the HuffPo and the Times are owned by companies worth billions, the New York Times pays its contributors so that they can eat and live and continue to write. And while I applaud the Huffington Post writers for their commitment to journalism, I need to tell them something: You guys need to stand up. Your company isn’t going to start paying you out of the goodness of their hearts while you agree to work for free, and getting paid in experience is why we stopped answering Craigslist ads for writers.