The New York Times 20-Article Diet

It truly is no exaggeration for me to say that the newspaper alternatively known as the U.S. Paper of Record, The Gray Lady, purveyor of “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” or simply The New York Times, changed my life in a very dramatic way.

Sadly, I don’t remember exactly who turned me on to reading the Times, but I do know that it dates back to my young adulthood in New Jersey, specifically my time as a student at Rutgers University.

And while I don’t remember the person, curiously I do remember a passionate endorsement impressing on me how important it is to know what’s going on in the news, and, additionally, that the winner of 104 Pulitzer Prizes was also a window on world culture, with broad coverage of science, the arts, travel, etc.

As a consequence, in a very short period of time, I was transformed from someone who was woefully ignorant and disengaged with national and global events into someone who could spend most of his free time on Sundays immersed in the voluminous Sunday edition, including the always eagerly anticipated Magazine section.

Now, while I don’t often read the paper edition anymore, I do read at least some of their digital content pretty much every day, and it’s all over the news sites and blogs that this coming Monday the Times will be implementing a long-anticipated subscription service for their website and iPhone/iPodTouch/iPad apps.

Plenty has already been said concerning the business implications of the so-called paywall — some saying it will be successful, some not — so it’s a good thing that all I really want to say is:

It.Will.Hurt.

Whether I think it’s worth the cost or not is hard to say, I’m on the fence, but I have to be honest and say that I don’t see myself dishing out $15/month or $180/year for unlimited access to the website via computer and my iPod Touch, even though the paper edition is roughly the same price.

In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for the 20 free articles per month that the Times will continue to offer, and I might resort to the various workarounds that have been circulating.

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