Participants were surveyed shortly after the paywall was announced and again 11 weeks after it was implemented to understand how they would react and adapt to this change. Most readers planned not to pay and ultimately did not. Instead, they devalued the newspaper, visited its Web site less frequently, and used loopholes, particularly those who thought the paywall would lead to inequality. Results of an experimental justification manipulation revealed that framing the paywall in terms of financial necessity moderately increased support and willingness to pay.
We recently put out a podcast called “Legacy of a Jerk,” which deals in large part with the ancient injunction against speaking ill of the dead. For the most part, this injunction is still widely obeyed. So I was quite surprised to see what Mark Bittman recently wrote on his N.Y. Times blog:
Sysco is the latest food giant—it’s the largest food distributor in the country—to come out against gestation crate confinement of pigs. The National Pork Producers Council’s communications director was quoted in the National Journal saying: “So our animals can’t turn around for the 2.5 years that they are in the stalls producing piglets…I don’t know who asked the sow if she wanted to turn around.” Really.
I read that “speaking of pigs” line three or four times to make sure I understood. At first I thought that Bittman was speaking metaphorically — that no one had in fact died. (But he did: the man’s name was Don Perry.) Then I thought maybe the Times page had been hacked, but that doesn’t seem to be the case either. FWIW, here’s a screenshot:
I love the New York Times (and not just because I used to work there) but goodness gracious, this kind of thing really hurts its credibility.
An article about News Corp.’s decision to split off its publishing business (including the Wall Street Journal) from its entertainment business contains the following sentence:
Both companies would maintain their controversial dual-class share stock structure, which enables the Murdoch family to control nearly 40 percent of the voting power.
Well, guess what other family-run news organization maintains a dual-class share stock structure? Yes, the New York Times — as well as the Washington Post and others, as Rupert Murdochpointed out in announcing News Corp.’s move. This fact, however, isn’t mentioned in the Times article. But here’s the reality: given the turmoil in the newspaper business in general and at the Times in particular, it’d be easy to argue that if anyone’s dual-class ownership is “controversial,” it is the Times‘s more than the Journal‘s.
The Times article also omits that the new publishing unit will include News Corp.’s education unit and HarperCollins, one of the world’s largest book publishers. (Our books are published by William Morrow, a division of HC.) The Journal‘s coverage of the story is superior.
3. Alicia Tugend with a fascinating piece about how we remember and process criticism/bad events more forcefully than praise/good events. It’s a psychological take on loss aversion, with good examples from Clifford Nass, Roy Baumeister, and Teresa Amabile.
We just got word that the new paperback edition of SuperFreakonomics will land on the 6/12 New York Times best-seller list. Freakonomics is still on the list too (88 weeks on paperback list after >100 on hardcover), and it’ll be fun to see if baby brother can hang in as long as the original. Thanks to all for reading!
A Forbes.com article by Jeff Bercovici discusses the New York Times‘s plan to shut down a rogue Twitter feed called FreeNYTimes, which is meant to circumvent the Times‘s upcoming metered model (some people call it a paywall). As Bercovici writes: It’s clever, but it’s not kosher. “We have asked Twitter to disable this feed as it is in violation of . . .