Friday, May 15, 2009

Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

Dear Mr. Keller,

I recently read an article about your potential plans to charge for web content at NYTimes.com. I completely support and understand the need to charge for web content. I am writing to urge you to develop a "membership" system rather than a "per-use" system.

I am a young adult who only recently started paying attention to the news. Following my parents' lead, I started listening to public radio and browsing various news websites. As my daily news intake increased, I found which media outlets were dependable and trustworthy, and which were not. Now that I get my news from only a few sources, and they have become indispensable, I feel obliged to support them. When NPR asks for money, I give. I am more than happy to support them because I know and trust them. However, if I had to pay for their content up front, I probably wouldn't have become an avid listener. I have so far reaped the rewards of free access to the New York Times website (although I pay for the crossword puzzles), but because I have grown to know and love the Times, I would now be happy to become a member and support the news.

Because of my own experience, I think the membership system is more conducive to letting users get to know you, without any obligation. With a membership system, users would be able to peruse the website at no charge and try out different columns and features, without the fear of having to pay. When it becomes an necessary habit, that's when you hit them with a membership drive and guilt them into paying $60 for a $10 tote bag.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Erica Ann C-------
West Hartford, CT

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