and opened its website to anyone and without charge.
Back when the NYT decided to charge $49.95 (or some figure) for access to its most often read columnists, I thought it a moronic journalistic move and an even stupider business move. Obviously, the journalist want the widest audience possible to read their words of wisdom. There was no journalistic justification to limit that audience. Unfortunately, the business wieners gained the upper hand and shut of the reference source.
Undoubtedly, the Times CFO looked at all that money banks rake in by charging $2.00 (now $3.00 if Bank of America can make its increase stick and other banks follow suit) to use a self-service ATM instead of stepping up to a teller for service, and said why can’t the newspaper do the same. Unfortunately, for the Times, not all newspapers were inclined to cut out such a large slice of their respective readership. Researchers were able to go elsewhere and find the substance of what the opinion writers based their opinions upon. There were many other free sources.
I don’t have the facts, but you can be certain that hits on the Times website fell sharply. With a reduced audience, advertisers demanded lower rates. At some point the Times financial people discovered that a break-even point was crossed over and the subscription fees from the few gullible subscribers became less than the lost advertising revenue. The CFO taketh away and the CFO is forced to give back.
It’s great to have Krugman, et al available again to those of us who squeak when we walk. Much like writing to a forum such as this, it is a privilege that someone read one’s opinion writings, even for the professionally opinionated.