The (old) Licquia Family Blog

This is the old blog site, powered by a simple blogging system called Blosxom. It's here to keep old links from breaking, and for whatever historic interest might remain.

Here's the current site.

Tue, 10 Jun 2003

The New York Times: Blog of record

Some of my regular readers (do I even have regular readers?) may have noticed the appearance of New York Times stories on my blogroll over on the left. Most blogroll changes are silent affairs, but this one, I think, merits special attention.

It all started when Dave Winer complained about the NYT changing its policy on archives, pulling them off the free Web and starting to charge for them. More importantly, when the articles disappeared, links to those articles changed, effectively removing the source material for many discussions happening on the Internet.

The NYT responded, and started talking to Dave, with very good results. RSS feeds are now available, though it's not entirely clear that non-Userland users (like me) are the intended audience. (Dave says that the NYT knows that the feeds can be used by anyone.)

I've been having problems finding good news sources, and am pleased to see a new source. If it works out, I may stop reading the BBC. On the other hand, I fear that this is to be a short-lived experiment.

Dave has revealed that the NYT makes a lot of money selling access to their archives; how much isn't known, but it's evidently significant enough to be a concern for them. Money is good; everyone planning to eat supper tonight in their comfortable home can attest to this. However, the NYT also has a reputation for being the "paper of record", and prides itself on defining the national debate. But if the national debate is happening on the Internet more and more, and you don't allow the Internet to read your stories (or index them on Google, another problem with the NYT's archive policy), you're going to lose credibility as the "paper of record" fairly quickly, self-destructive behavior aside.

So, it becomes a question of trading off one good (profit) for another (reputation, influence). Which will the NYT pick? Who knows? And that's what makes me nervous.

All the same, I'm willing to take part in the great experiment. I'll link and discuss NYT stories when they interest me, and keep the Front Page in my blogroll, for as long as things stay this way. When they change, we'll certainly know more about how they've chosen to trade.

Jun 10, 2003 | Comments are no longer available