Well, this is one way to solve the newspaper/Internet/circulation problem:
The New York Times is offering free access to its TimesSelect online opinion section Nov. 6 to 12 through an advertising sponsorship deal with Philips electronics. Link
I’m not convinced. There are plenty of sites online where people can find the kind of thing they would see on TimesSelect. In fact, there are a lot of blogs that discuss the same topics.
The difference is the reliability and expertise that newspaper opinion pieces are supposed to have. This is a distinction that I think grows smaller all the time. Anyone can write anything, and while that includes the phonies, it also includes the experts.
The Times and other newspapers need to find their niche online. Journalists need to stop pussyfooting around the White House. The watchdogs need some serious crossbreeding.
Along similar lines, Google may be the financial grace of companies like Gannett, the Tribune Company, The New York Times Company, the Washington Post Company and Hearst.
I love Google for all its Web2.0 terrificness. I ain’t got no crystal ball, but I see Google gobbling up companies like YouTube and then providing a crutch to newspaper companies…
Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean Google isn’t after you.
5/4/2009 Update: The Times took down their paywall, and are apparently thinking about putting it back up. The AP and others are trying to block Google, and one company is trying to create iTunes for news. The stupidity is astounding. I hope they fail fast, so we can experiment with ideas that have a chance.