Another Online Publishing Breakthrough from the New York Times

September 23, 2014

At the end of 2012 I published a post called “Read & Watch the Future of Publishing at the New York Times.” That post considered John Branch’s award-winning “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” The New York Times continues to innovate, this time in the travel section. The short title is “Norway the Slow Way.” (more…)

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Read & Watch the Future of Publishing at the New York Times

December 22, 2012

I feel like I’m coming in from the Web wilderness as I start viewing John Branch’s, Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek on the New York Times site. Snow blows across a mountain peak as the saga of an deadly avalanche begins to spill down the page: “Avalanche! Elyse!” 650 words later and the reader has an option to see a 45-second clip with Elyse Saugstad, “a professional skier,” a survivor. (more…)

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A Sign of the Times

March 18, 2011

Get ready for either frustration or a monthly bill.










While I’m keen to see content owners compensated, the New York Times is far from an average content owner so the lesson here will be a one-off. And as Peter Brantley points out, “the New York Times is prominent enough, and these prices high enough, to dry out the market for other sites who would wish to charge for access.”

Meanwhile on March 14 the Pew Research Center revealed in yet another of its invaluable State of the News Media reports that three quarters of Americans won’t pay a cent for online news access.

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The Future of Publishing: Newspaper Department

March 7, 2009

I’ve been meaning to blog this for several weeks (oops, “blog” is now a verb!).

I recall clearly that in the early days of the Web that Martin Nisenholtz at The New York Times supervised the creation of a series of engaging graphics that struck me as emblematic of what online newspapers versions could do that print versions could not. Many were interactive; all were involving.

In the last month or so I’ve seen a modest return to this excellent mold.

Emblematic of this is something I would have to categorize as ironic. Titled, “Mostly Gloom for Glossies,” it illustrates the often dramatic drop in paid ad pages for some of America’s most prominent magazine titles.


The small amount of text accompanying the interactive feature makes the point: “Another day, another closure. Magazines are becoming thinner as advertising pages fall, and publishers are grimly cutting underperforming titles. But the outlook is not dour for all — a handful of magazines are still expanding their ad lineups, some by startlingly high percentages.”

The interaction is not sophisticated but it’s direct and effective. It brings the point across better than words in the paper could do.

Check it out.

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Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic

June 15, 2008

The title of this blog entry is also the title of a piece

in today’s New York Times. The story

is most simply stated by quoting from part of the second paragraph: “three of

the country’s largest Internet service providers are threatening to clamp down

on their most active subscribers by placing monthly limits on their online


Time Warner Cable, Comcast and AT&T are all

experimenting with plans (read this as “about to implement said plans”) to

first of all offer tiered monthly pricing based on the amount of data that can

be downloaded, and supplement that with additional “per gigabyte” charges for

those who go beyond their contracted limit.

The Times

article reads as very sympathetic to these ISPs, with quotes like “all three

companies say that placing caps on broadband use will ensure fair access for

all users” and “the goal, says Mitch Bowling, a senior vice president at

Comcast, is ‘ensuring that a small number of users don’t impact the experience

for everyone else.’”

But the actual strategy is obviously quite different

that what’s quoted in the article. Who are the heavy bandwidth users? People

who are fully engaged in video on the Web. Much of the video is coming out of

Hollywood and TV-land, and from sites like YouTube. These ISPs clearly just

want their “vig” (short for “vigorish”): bookmakers’ and gangsters’ slang for a

cut of the action. They make lots of money; why shouldn’t we (even though we’re

already are raking it in)?

As the article notes: “Even if the caps are far above the

average users’ consumption, their mere existence could cause users to reduce

their time online. Just ask people who carefully monitor their monthly

allotments of cellphone minutes and text messages.”

This is bad news for the future of publishing. As

always, the greed of the companies panning for Internet gold remains limitless.

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