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NY Times flails aimlessly in the direction of young readers 4/4/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in NewsTrends, NYTimes.
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In order to have a future, papers like the NY Times must get young people back in the habit of reading newspapers. This may be the single most serious crisis for papers. Less than 40% of 18-24 year olds now read a daily newspaper, down from 70% forty years ago. So, what has the NY Times done about it? First, in what seemed like a desperate attempt, it began to give papers away for free on campuses. Astonishingly, this apparently has not done much for young readership. Next, the Times decided to give away free subscriptions to its TimesSelect premium service to students. Unfortunately, this service mostly provides access to opinion columns, a dime a dozen on the Internet, and old Times archives, which are available to most students through their campuses’ access to Lexis-Nexis. What next? Well, this week the Times added a blog called “The Graduates” to TimesSelect featuring the postings of a handful of strangers who happen to be seniors at other colleges. It’s behind this firewall, but described here. Is there anybody who believes that this will be more interesting to students than the blogs of friends and family? If the Times is already giving everything away to students for free, and ideas like “The Graduates” blog are the best ideas left, where can the NY Times go from here to save their franchise?

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1. The Editorialiste - 4/13/07

“Is there anybody who believes that this will be more interesting to students than the blogs of friends and family? If the Times is already giving everything away to students for free, and ideas like “The Graduates” blog are the best ideas left, where can the NY Times go from here to save their franchise?”

Great point, Steve. The New York Times isn’t gaining that elusive under-30 crowd with tactics like this. “The Graduates is impossible to find, expensive to see (unless you know the .edu back door) and irrelevant to read. Don’t get me wrong – I love the idea, man. It’s a great opportunity to have a window into a generation saddled with debt. But it kills me to see that window tinted so we can’t really see what’s through it.

And it kills me even more to read the optimistic comments saying, “don’t worry, hon, you’ll make it! Just ignore those big, bad creditors and follow your dreams!” At this rate, one of these young journalists will become famous — but it will be courtesy of having written a memoir on the “unbelieveable story” of the extreme debt they faced to get there.

Thanks for reading and all the best,
The Editorialiste.
http://editorialiste.blogspot.com/


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