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New York Times Co. Reports $24M Profit, Thanks to Digital Subscribers (nytimes.com)
361 points by aaronbrethorst 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 329 comments





That’s just insane.

This is a great accomplishment for NYT but I’m worried about what it means for the rest of the industry.

NYT switching its business model has to be one of the most public and well-executed digital transformations of an old company ever.

If NYT is the best at this and can only turn 24M a quarter, almost everyone else must be absolutely bleeding.

This would confirm most of the newspapers out there are indeed running failed business models with zero opportunity for success.

The reason this is worrisome is going forward there will be less and less ‘diversity’ in the reporting ecosystem. Instead of 50 professional reporters confirmed writing about an event, we’ll have 5.

Reality and facts will be more about picking teams than believing the consensus.

In the age of leaders publicly gaslighting, unrefereed global forums of social media which can be bought, and massive concentration of wealth at the top, fewer and consolidated reporting entities will be bad for the republic.


That extrapolates to $84,000,000 profit per year. As a comparison, NYT made $397,536,000 in net income in 2000.

https://s1.q4cdn.com/156149269/files/doc_financials/annual/2...

$259,753,000 per year net income in 2005: https://s1.q4cdn.com/156149269/files/doc_financials/annual/2...

That comparison puts it into perspective for me. Until I looked up the comparison, I thought $84M a year profit sounded fantastic.


Jesus, they went from close to 400 million on 3.6 billion revenue to 96 on 1.6 billion revenue, and it's a success?

Really puts into perspective how tumultuous the last 15 years has been for even the biggest newspapers.


> and it's a success?

Compared to going out of business in a changing landscape, absolutely it's a success. The music industry went through something similar. The book industry (textbooks in particular) are about to go through it also.


What do you mean in regards to textbooks? Online rentals, digital textbooks, or something else?

I ask only as someone (of many) who deeply resents textbook price gouging.


I'm also curious about what might change.

Textbooks are obviously open to the same digitization and free-access issues as other media, but their sales model fundamentally different because it's one giant principal-agent problem.

In public schools, digitization won't touch textbook profits any time soon because they're bought in bulk, and because multi-year use keeps costs reasonable. Giving out digital copies isn't a major edge if you can get 5-10 years out of a book. As for college students, there's just very little incentive to care about costs. Example: for many of my classes, buying and reselling textbooks, renting them, and getting digital-only access mysteriously converged on the same price - just like you'd predict in a market with no real competition. So the only real question is whether sellers can control piracy or other covert cost reductions like buying international versions and older editions.

So far, they seem to be doing pretty well at it. Altering problems in foreign and new additions doesn't stop everyone, but it deters many students. Mandatory online courseware with in-book CD keys is a masterstroke, since it not only kills piracy but forces students to buy $100 books they might have forgone altogether - no more using library copies if you're hard up for money!

I've only seen two hints of change. One is outreach to agents (i.e. professors) on quality; there are now mix-and-match services that will sell combined chapters from a variety of books, which might someday drive more competition among writers and professor awareness of book choice. The second is the existence of student rebellion in specific majors (i.e. Computer Science) where students are very likely to have digital, pirated, or nonexistent textbooks, to the point where things like "open book exams" are considered outrageous.


What was the profit in 2000?

Net income = profit

Instead of 50 professional reporters confirmed writing about an event, we’ll have 5

That's pretty what we already have actually. The amount of original reporting done on a major news story is far, far lower than the number of newspapers out there.

This study from 2010 is useful:

http://www.niemanlab.org/2010/02/the-googlechina-hacking-cas...

Out of the 121 distinct versions of last week’s story about tracing Google’s recent attackers to two schools in China, 13 (11 percent) included at least some original reporting. And just seven organizations (six percent) really got the full story independently.

Only seven stories (six percent) were primarily based on original reporting. These were produced by The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Tech News World, Bloomberg, Xinhua (China), and the Global Times (China).

The story being studied had an international dimension which bumped up the number of outlets doing original reporting, as it was impactful to both the USA and China. Most stories that are only relevant to one country would have far fewer.

This is one of the reasons why the newspaper industry is shrinking - the internet makes it clear for the first time how little original reporting there really is, and how much duplication of that little original reporting goes on.

As for picking teams, gaslighting etc ... US media is experiencing a surge in profits right now, and as far as I can tell the reason is that they've more or less openly abandoned any pretence of political neutrality. They've become anti-Trump cheerleaders that are more in the business of helping their readers feel superior than in the business of real news. It's hard to blame them because this appears to be a more profitable business to be in than trying to be neutral and it's caused a surge in trust amongst democrats only. But of course it makes them vulnerable, even in a country with the first amendment. The USA doesn't have a president who hates the media for no reason.


> they've more or less openly abandoned any pretence of political neutrality

There's an enormous federal investigation into the political operatives of only one party. The counts of corruption are far higher for one party.

When news comes out about indictments and criminal trials of those in only one party, it's not because the media outlet has abandoned neutrality.


It is true that when there is more news about one party then there needs to be more reporting on that party, but I'm not sure it really negates what the parent was saying. I do get the feeling there are outlets that have become either biased in their reporting. (Of course, I also see ones that haven't.) As an example, check out this segment [1] that I was watching from CNN just yesterday. The anchor is trying very, very hard to persuade the viewer of what they assess to be a fact, not that differently from how Fox News sometimes seems to. It does not seem like the kind of unbiased, professional, arm's-length fact-reporting that I seem to (hopefully correctly?) remember being the norm. On top of that, it doesn't help that their words are more casual/informal than what I remember to be usual news reporting. (e.g.: look at the word choice, intonation, and body language where she says: "Right..?? He said it was 'cause of Russia to /NBC news/, and another time he said it was 'cause the deputy attorney general told him to /do/ it... this is a president who changes his story"... it does not make the storytelling come across as unbiased.)

This is not to say I don't understand why they're infuriated with Trump (I likely would be too), or that I somehow think they're spreading fake news, or anything like that. But the thing is, some outlets (like CNN, but it's not the only one) do at least appear to have become less neutral and more hostile to Trump (even if justifiably so). It's by no means anything close to all of them, but the effect unfortunately does seem apparent for some of them, and it does almost seem like they don't really notice or mind it.

[1] https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/08/08/donald-trump-...


Trump hated "the Media" long before he became president. The idea that "the Media" are anti-Trump cheerleaders need some corrobating evidence because otherwise it is bullshit.

That's because Trump is a conservative and conservatives have been losing trust in the media for a long time.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/219824/democrats-confidence-mas...

Do you really need evidence US media is anti-Trump? Can you name any large, well known newspapers that endorsed him? From what I recall they all went for Hillary, there was even one paper (the USA Today?) that had never endorsed a candidate before and they went for Hillary.


==That's because Trump is a conservative==

Based on what criteria?

==Do you really need evidence US media is anti-Trump? Can you name any large, well known newspapers that endorsed him?==

Is the second part actually evidence of the first part or does it simply reinforce your prior belief? Can you name any candidate in history who was gifted more free screen-time or print-space by US media?


Hmm. Are you arguing Trump is not a conservative? He ran under a Republican banner and has many classically conservative policies.

As for the latter paragraph, are you implying news outlets simply sell screen-time and print-space? How can the media "gift" coverage? Their job is to report what's happening and things said and done by a presidential candidate is clearly news. And yes of course the abundance of newspapers openly stating they wanted his opponent to win is evidence of being anti-Trump: that's basic logic.


==and has many classically conservative policies.==

Please expand on this statement. From my perspective, I see someone who supports tariffs, closed borders, increased debt, increased spending, handouts for specific industries ("picking winners and losers"), vilification of law enforcement, and more. These all go directly against traditionally "conservative" principles.

==are you implying news outlets simply sell screen-time and print-space==

How do you think the media makes money as a business? They are called advertisements, typically one must pay for them. In Trump's case, they covered him non-stop free of charge, essentially gifting him free advertising.

==And yes of course the abundance of newspapers openly stating they wanted his opponent to win is evidence of being anti-Trump==

Endorsements are done by editorial boards, which are distinct from journalists. The TV journalists gave Trump air time by not only showing all of his rallies, but showing the empty podium before the rallies. Meanwhile the rallies of Hillary Clinton were not covered in the same breathless way. The Washington Post wrote an entire article about it and estimated it at $2 billion[1].

[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/03/1...


I would argue that Trump is an opportunist. For evidence: see his extensive dealings with the Clintons and Democrats in the 90s and early 2000s.

Yes I need evidence. Especially since you claim it is obvious that "the Media" is anti-Trump it shouldn't be hard for you to bring forward that evidence.

> Can you name any large, well known newspapers that endorsed him?

No! You are not allowed to turn the tables on me. You are the one that should show that "the Media" is anti-Trump, I shouldn't have to prove that it isn't.


I think the newspaper endorsements line was meant to be evidence, but I'll flesh it out a little.

Of the 100 largest-circulation newspapers in the US, 57 endorsed Clinton while only 2 endorsed Trump. Of the top 50 papers, five gave no endorsement, three endorsed "not Trump", and one endorsed Johnson. The rest directly endorsed Clinton, with zero endorsing Trump. So: when traditional journalists and editors at major newspapers took explicit positions on the election, they almost all opposed Trump.

This is obviously a different question than "is the media conservative or liberal?", "is the non-editorial coverage at major news organizations generally anti-Trump?", or "are news organizations employing a partisan agenda in their decisions about how to cover Trump?

The first one of those questions is relatively easy to answer: according to an Indiana University survey of 1080 journalists in broadly 'traditional' roles, 7% identify as Republicans, compared to 28% who identify as Democrats. The number identifying as Republicans has also been falling faster than the number identifying as Democrats in equivalent prior surveys.

The second one is more open ended, but I think we can at least sketch the outlines of an answer.

Intuitively, I would propose that cable television leans left with one obvious exception, while local news and television stations are much more scattered - and less dependent on the views of their journalists, since they often have purchased content and partisan owners like Sinclair.

Factually, the Shorenstein Center at Harvard finds that in the first 100 days of the Trump administration, news coverage of Trump was 80% negative. They find that CNN and NBC were most negative, while even Fox was 52% negative.

The third is so open-ended that I can't imagine discussing it without agreeing on a bunch of specific standards for evidence and discussion, because it requires deciding where objective coverage of badness stops and partisanship starts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspaper_endorsements_in_the_...

http://archive.news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2014/05/2013-ame...

https://shorensteincenter.org/news-coverage-donald-trumps-fi...


From a cursory glance, about half of all American newspapers endorsed Obama in 2012 and the other half endorsed Romney. Were half of all newspapers anti-Obama?

> 7% identify as Republicans, compared to 28% who identify as Democrats

The problem with these kind of stats is that they never reveal what kind of journalists we are talking about. It's irrelevant (to the question of bias in media) whether journalists reviewing books and movies likes Republicans or Democrats. Only journalists reporting on political and economical topics biases matters.

The negative reporting from the 100 first days I believe is at least partially because there were a lot of turmoil that were hard to spin in a positive light. The Russia collusion investigation, Muslim travel ban, repeal of Obamacare and so on. The reporting about the tax cuts have probably been more positive.

But I don't doubt that most journalists dislike Trump and that probably affects their reporting about him. Given his antics which involves calling them all liars and banning journalists from newspapers he particularly hates, I don't find that strange at all. Given that Trump is an "anti-Media" president I think the reporting about him has been very fair.

If you now think I'm moving the goal post, let me define "anti-$President." If you can show that media's reporting about Trump is just as slanted as Fox News' reporting was about Obama, then I would concede that media is anti-Trump.


> as far as I can tell the reason is that they've more or less openly abandoned any pretence of political neutrality. They've become anti-Trump cheerleaders that are more in the business of helping their readers feel superior than in the business of real news... The USA doesn't have a president who hates the media for no reason.

Comically absurd. Trump injects himself into media headlines on a daily basis, more often than not because he's picking a fight on twitter with someone over something petty. He has nobody but himself to blame for his unfavorable coverage. Pretending he's a victim here is a cookie cutter case of amoral tribalism and rank partisanship.


There's just too many vital services that can't function with just ad financing. It's so obvious, that I have a slight hope we'll see new business models to accommodate for that. The problem is that I don't read a hundred articles a month by the NYT, I read maybe 5. And then 5 others on 30 different sites, each.

What I can imagine is a "digital pass" kinda thing that lets you access a massive amount of content for a reasonable monthly fee and divides it among members by what you use most or something. Flat-rate pricing is the way to go on the internet, it is for premium video streaming (Netflix), for music (Spotify) and games will probably follow soon (it seems Nintendo is switching the Virtual Console to being part of their subscription model, for example). I could see it for premium newspapers. It fixes this paralyzing decision of which subscription you pay for.


> divides it among members by what you use most

The problem with this is that it assumes the value is proportionate to how much time you spend on something.

The value of good reporting is independent of the amount of time you spend reading the reporting.

That's why subscriptions make sense; you are supporting the company in a predictable fashion, which lets them have predictable amounts of resources, which ultimately supports the reporters doing the job.

I subscribe to the New York Times; and I'm happy to pay the same amount whether I read ten articles a month or one hundred. Why? Because I want to support the work they're doing. It's the same reason I subscribe to the Washington Post. It's also the same reason people should subscribe to their local newspapers. If nobody is reporting on local issues, then who is going to be keeping local government accountable?


> What I can imagine is a "digital pass"

this makes me think that journalism should be funded out of a commons fund - like how the BBC is funded publically via taxes.


The BBC isn't directly funded by taxes in the usual sense (and therefore the government, which is a tricky situation to be in). It's funded by the collection of a license required when you have a TV, and it's collected by the BBC itself (in reality outsourced).

The BBC is obliged to collect it (through their contractor) but the government chooses how much is collected and how to spend the money. Some even goes to what you probably think of as privately owned local newspapers. When money was tight at Channel 4 (a publicly owned company that runs a TV channel with advertising and a very different remit from the BBC - the BBC's mission is to educate, while C4 is more about pushing boundaries, so that amazing wildlife documentary is from the BBC but the first soap opera to have a gay Muslim couple get married is probably C4) C4 were going to take some of the license fee money too.

Though in the end there is absolutely no difference.

In Sweden we are abandoning that concept because it is an unfair system and lots of people have switched to the internet for the same content (and don't even have a TV).


It's just semantics, sure, but it does mean the UK's largest broadcaster is not state-owned and has independence. That's important.

It does not. Politicians have absolute power over funding regardless. They decide exactly how much BBC can collect and in what circumstances (or they give BBC the mandate to do it themselves, but they can revoke or change that at will).

It is just one, insignificant, layer of indirection.


Who mandates the license fee? The government. So, it's a tax, and the BBC is both the state agency collecting the tax and the state agency funded by the tax.

This works on a national level. Switzerland does it too. But I don't want to read only Swiss Newspapers, I wanna read the NYT and The Times etc. as well. I do think that the digital pass idea is worth thinking about more.

That doesn't solve it. It ensures you have people calling themselves journalists who get paid, but journalism is in decline because (a) trust in journalism is in decline and (b) a lot of it is duplicated.

The BBC specifically has a trust issue in the UK. Even one of its own long term journalists wrote a book called "Can we trust the BBC?" (spoiler warning: the given answer is no).

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Can-Trust-BBC-Robin-Aitken/dp/08264...

Tax-funded institutions that are not accountable to the people paying the tax is corrosive. Resentment builds and has nowhere to go. For now at least if you're willing to disconnect from broadcast television entirely, you can avoid paying the license fee. But similar license fees in other countries have been adapted to include the internet; it's hard to know if the same will happen in the UK.

My favourite recent example of ridiculous tabloid-level BBC journalism is "Brexit threat to sandwiches":

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44960293

Staying in the EU for a bit longer would keep the chiller cabinet full of sandwiches - but it would doubtless raise the political temperature.

The story literally argues that the UK would not have sandwiches anymore if no deal with the EU is reached. The sandwich was invented in the UK.

This is hardly an isolated example. Consider what sort of journalistic process led to this story being written, edited, reviewed and approved for publication. Is it one citizens should be forced to fund? What does that sort of thing do long term? Is it any wonder that trust in the press is in long term decline in the UK?


>The story literally argues that the UK would not have sandwiches anymore if no deal with the EU is reached. The sandwich was invented in the UK.

That is not what the article is about at all, "sandwiches" are just the hook. In fact the word sandwich only appears in the first sentence and the last. The article is about whether Brexit would lead to supply chain issues with food, which could result in food shortages.


No, sandwiches are referred to in the headline, the first paragraph, the second paragraph and the third paragraph ("the space between two pieces of bread"), and the final paragraph.

Regardless of how you prefer to interpret the story, absurd clickbait "hooks" are the sort of thing that drives distrust in the media.


I imagine it would be difficult to get such members of a group to agree on the value they bring to the table. NYT probably thinks they'd deserve more than the LAT, and certainly way more than USA Today. Can't imagine these groups cooperating. It's winner takes all and then some niches for Breitbart and the like.

Cable channels would likely have the same disagreements, as would netflix series. So it's not impossible. (We'd have a lot less value on AP stories, though.)

"Because that’s not how we use the web. People don’t visit a single site to seek out content. They search then nimbly hop from link to link building knowledge from an amalgamation of sources. The entire web is one big site."

"Given these usage patterns, paywalls fail miserably. The typical consumer would have to sign up to hundreds of properties, costing thousands of dollars per month. If they consumed every bit of content at the New York Times, the $25/month could be fair. But they don’t, leaving them with a glut of extremely underutilized and over-priced subscriptions."

https://artplusmarketing.com/paywall-not-paywalls-8474092276...


Somewhat related, though not a flat price: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blendle

Is 100M$ a year profit, not revenue but profit, a low amount for a newspaper to make? that seems to me like a fair amount to be at the top.

If other newspapers make a tenth of the profit, that should still be an acceptable market? no?

Edit: with 3700 employes (per Wikipedia) that's put their profit to be about 27000$ per employee. That's 4 times as much as walmart. From what I can tell it's also more then IBM and probably higher then most non-tech, non-oil businesses


The tech bubble really skewed the perception field of many people.

> tech bubble

I think OP misread the quarterly figure as an annual one. “Tech bubble” usually applies to companies with much less than $100 million of profits.


I think the idea of comparing to the tech bubble is that it has skewed our perceptions of how much a company should make per employee, and how fast it should grow. Indeed many bubble companies are making little or no profits, but they don't have 3700 employees to pay every month + printing presses, buildings etc. The ROI is very different

> The ROI is very different

If you’re making “little or no profits” you have no ROI.


The idea being that you plan to make massive profits down the line. No VC is expecting their startups to cruise comfortably at 3700 employees and 80M yearly profit

> only turn 24M a quarter,

That's $24 million left unspent after salaries, benefits, travel and accommodation, equipment purchases, AP and Bloomberg fees, client entertainment, interest repayment, rents, board jollies...

I don't see what's unhealthily low about that profit.


It depends on what the ROI and risks are. If you spend $100M a year to earn $1M in net profit, and your business is completely dependent on advertising and/or has declining subscription revenues then that’s terrible. There are much better ROIs to be had, so an investor would be better off investing elsewhere.

Also, reporting faces heavy legal, travel, lodging, equipment, and food expenses and those don’t end up in the asset column in case of a sale. I guess the articles and copyright would help, but it doesn’t seem to be worth much.


Why wouldn't equipment end up in asset column in case of a sale? Equipment is a fixed asset so it'll just be a transfer of asset at book value with gain/loss recorded in the sellers income statement.

EDIT: When you talk about "asset column" I'm assuming you mean the asset column in the books of accounts of the buyer.


It would, I was just assuming a good portion of a news agency's equipment isn't as valuable in re-sale like personal computers, office equipment, etc.

In the long run of a decade, it's risky to bet on sustainable growth after the Trump era ends. Doubly so if he doesn't get re-elected.

This is just my opinion, but things change. Change is not necessarily bad.

If smaller newspapers cannot make it, it means they don't offer a good enough service to justify their existence. If they were good and provided value, people would pay for it (like they do the NYT).

Given the dismal quality of many small publications--possibly caused by the need to bring people via search engines--I welcome replacing them with independent content creators. Independent content creators often make even a lot of money via Patreon because people like their content and support them, and often the quality and level of knowledge is 100 times better than small publications that are only interested in clicks.

For instance, see the coverage of solar roadways, Hyperloop and many other science-related topics by specialized publications vs. the debunking videos made by youtuber Thunderf00t. While those publications will just have interns write copycat articles to bring in clicks, he's an actual scientist that looks into/debunks the topics at hand with a unique point of view, and actually covers the news critically. I'd much rather give him $5/mo. to keep producing good content then the "professional" newspaper $0.50/mo. to read their crappy content or even worse be bombarded by ads if I visit their website.

Of course, independent content creators will not take a plane to go cover a war or cannot afford to spend 2 years without publishing an article to do investigative journalism, but I think those publications that provide that value gets recognized by people and those will rightfully stay alive.


Nor will independent content creators for the most part go to a lot of boring town and city meetings to find out what's going on--or develop relationships with the various low level officials/administrators. A number of years back my town had a local newspaper that was basically someone's labor of love. It no longer has one so I have essentially no source of information about any town issues I might want to be aware of. That doesn't matter to me for the most part but it would be nice to know about happenings/votes/etc. that affect me.

> that doesn't matter to me for the most part

I think that's key. When people really care they are the ones who ask the product/project/service how they can support them.

The truth might be that people don't value reading most articles. I know that starting a newspaper is a huge investment, but I guess people just don't care. It might be because we don't have time to read, we get "news" from Facebook, no idea--but that much seems to be true.


“If smaller newspapers cannot make it, it means they don't offer a good enough service to justify their existence. If they were good and provided value, people would pay for it (like they do the NYT).”

I don’t think so. What happens is that the price would be too low to overcome the mental barrier of whipping out a wallet to pay for yet another recurring service, something people are only willing to do for larger websites.

We currently do not have a good solution for this. It’s weird to see so many HNers act like it’s a good thing that only large websites like NYT have a real business model once ads completely die. Or how Reddit will outlive individual forums because nobody is going to pay per forum.

But unless something changes, that’s going to be the reality soon.


> I don’t think so. What happens is that the price would be too low to overcome the mental barrier of whipping out a wallet to pay for yet another recurring service, something people are only willing to do for larger websites.

Why does the price have to be low? You can pay yearly, for instance.

However, the main point I was trying to make is that with Patreon people voluntarily contribute $1, $5 or whatever. It hasn't been a problem and it's done every day.

If you're not willing to put up with "whipping out a wallet for yet another recurring service", it means you don't value the product.

Again, I don't even think it's the size of the website because many community-supported projects are 1 solo content creator.


Newspapers were never valued for their ability of generating profits, but more as tools that can shape or sway the public opinion.

Having "few" and "consolidated" reporting entities basically reflects the status-quo pre-internet, where at a local/national level you would have a handful of newspapers (or TV channels), each having often a fairly evident slant or clearly lobbying for a particular political party or social group.

But while we shouldn't view the past in an excessively positive way, it's hard to consider an improvement what we are moving towards, a situation where there are far and far more numerous and uncontrolled sources of infomation, amplified by social media.

At least (most) traditional newspapers always had the obligation of fact-checking, a burden that a spurious blog or forum post or twitter message doesn't have...


Newspapers in the US were absolutely valued for their ability to generate profits. Local classified advertising revenue alone was enough that throughout the 80s and early 90s it was a very lucrative business to be in.

They're also tools that can shape or sway the public opinion. And not all markets have been profitable: in the UK, for example, the desire for political influence generated so many competing national newspapers that most of them lost money.


I disagree, the number of reporters and the diversity of them has increased greatly in the Twitter/YouTube universe. I'd much rather get my news from a 3 hour Joe Rogan podcast with a subject matter expert than a hot take from yet another person from the same small group of universities who have been manufacturing our reporters for generations.

OTOH news has been replaced by social media, which is cheaper. I do not see this demise as a bad thing. Diversity is a goal better achieved by individuals, not by a big number of large newspapers.

Also newspapers have been for a long time a business not particularly profitable on its sales, but on how its used to leverage other businesses. Failing Newspapers always find investors even if the biz is bad.


Social media? So just anyone with no credibility, oversight, quality control, resources, connections, or training?

It’s great that individuals can funnel up stories that would otherwise be buried — but that’s no replacement for true journalism. Journalism hardly perfect, but does have a much, much higher bar.


Depends on the type of social media. I got more real news (supported by multiple corroborating facts and folks who experienced events) on the Syria Civil war from the reddit Syrian Civil war forum than the continuous propaganda published/broadcasted by the American MSM. Whenever folks published videos that were countervailing to the established narrative, Ex: modern NATO weapons in ISIS hands being used to shell civilians or the 'moderate' rebels keeping and chaining female slaves, it was just a matter of hours before the video was reported and taken down. I spent a fair amount of time verifying information. It truly opened my eyes to what 'narrative' based Journalism means. I no longer trust any of the MSM channels.

And how do you know the sources of any of such videos? That they themselves aren’t propaganda being put out by another state actor?

That’s the role of journalists.. to find such videos and verify them. To put people on the ground in Syria, fact finding and interviewing.

It’s not like America is the only country with free as in speech journalism online — go read other papers if you believe the American ones are so distorted. My guess is you won’t find basic facts so challenged.


HN is really the wrong place for this discussion. My apologies. I have followed the civil war closely for nearly six years and in that time my opinion changed from one end of the spectrum (supporting the US against the tyrant Assad) to the very other end - realising the US was the primary cause of the war lasting so long and causing so many deaths by arming all and sundry against Assad.

I have talked via chat to folks in Aleppo when they were getting shelled indiscriminately by rebels (whenever they intermittently had power/signal). I have spoken with English speaking Kurds. No-one liked Assad, but he is a secular leader and the best of a whole bunch of terrible options.

Anyways, you don't have to take my word for it. Some very few media outlets like the UK's telegraph/independent went against the grain and confirmed several such stories independently. When the Battle of Aleppo was reaching its heights, Syrian civilians were being shelled by NATO weapons. All such claims were dismissed by the Obama administration at the time. Now they are slowly getting revealed:

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-war-bosnia-saudi-...

Amnesty International came up with several reports of the 'moderate' rebels committing severe crimes. Some of these reports were quite heavily sanitised.

There was no celebration of non-Islamic festivals allowed until Dec 2016. Only after the Syrian Army won back Aleppo did Christians get back their voice. The heavy, spontaneous door-to-door celebrations on the street were never reported. All videos showing such celebrations were taken down in a few hours from youtube.

What I find amusing is nearly all of your vaunted, reputed American journalists took most of their stories word for word from the Syrian observatory for Human rights run by one guy in Coventry, UK and heavily funded by the government. On the ground Syrians weren't considered reliable sources for the Western propaganda machine. Most journalists were too afraid to go into 'moderate rebel' held territory. And any Western journalist reporting from Assad territory was considered suspect and mostly ignored.

The Syrian War was an expensive gambit sponsored by Western governments (with Saudi Arabian support) for regime change that failed in all its objectives, causing over a million deaths and destroyed the Syrian quality of life. I have nothing but utter contempt for the journalists who kept pushing propaganda and are still calling for war.

Meanwhile, UK/US/German weapons are being merrily dropped in Yemen and hundreds of Yemeni adults and children dying, but you don't hear a peep in the MSM, do you ?


It has a higher bar, but its also way more expensive, and lots of people dont want to pay for it, so they much rather have a 10s vine with someone talking about it.

Not to mention that real journalists also have become a thing on social media, without having to respond to editors in a newspaper.


Their stock dropped 5% because the market perceived ‘slowing digital subscriber growth’. So not all good news even for NYT.

It’s worry some that people have shifted their focus to unedited and often fairly anonymous sources for news. HN is honestly a good example as well.

I’ve written numerous upvoted posts sharing information about the Scandinavian public sector and tech-management, but I’m not a vetted source. I mean, you can’t even tell if I’m Scandinavian from HN.

My squabbling is relatively harmless of course, but it’s not always like this. If I was a different person I could’ve spent my time writing anti-vaccination stuff on another media, and people would have put the same sort of trust in my words. Not HN users, at least I’d like to think so, but a lot of people would have.

That’s insanely dangerous to a free society, because we rely on truth, and right now there really isn’t a lot of it going around.


True. I think ppl think the Russians or who ever have to create content farms to spread fud. All bad actors have to do is find lunatics with fringe views and keep upvoting.

Media and social media are trained like lab rats to pick up anything that is getting views and amplify it. The underlying architecture has to change. The feedback mechanisms that drive this must be slowed down or removed.


> All bad actors have to do is find lunatics with fringe views and keep upvoting.

Or just get bots / click farmers to do all the work. The crackpots will latch on eventually...


Instead of 50 professional reports, we'll have millions of independent journalists that aren't tangled in a web of multi-national conglomerate corporations.

We'll develop consensus systems that will be better than the old system.

Trust in humanity's ability to adapt.


That's not what's happening right now, though. What's happening right now is that people are turning to less credible news sources and are growing increasingly misinformed. It means a guy like Alex Jones can't be run out of town even if what he's saying is complete nonsense, because he can always turn to the internet.

Plus, trolls funded by very well endowed state actors can now pretend to be among those "independent journalists" and completely muddy the waters.

Humanity doesn't always evolve for the better. The developed world lives in an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity, but don't make the mistake of believing that progress is the norm or that we've reached the end of history. It's possible to throw it all away with stupidity, propaganda, greed and infighting, and I have no doubt humanity is fully capable of reverting to that. In fact, given a long enough timeframe it's probably inevitable.


> We'll develop consensus systems that will be better than the old system.

Oh yeah, so the blockchain will somehow save this? (cough)

The best "consensus" system we've got for social media / forums is the upvote / downvote and that is a horrible indicator of truthfulness / factfullness / quality of something. Upvote / downvote is only an indicator of the prevailing groupthink on any given forum -- it is not a substitute for a reality check.


I wouldn't worry about the profit itself. It's important to NYT and their investors but not necessarily indicative of industry viability.

More important (IMO) is the number of subscribers, at total revenue, the total amount of money paid to NYT by subscribers. This is how much money is available to run NYT sustainably.

They had 3.8m subscribers, with 2.9m digital only. Revenue is/was $415m for the quarter (1.65bn annualized). $100m (25%) of that was from digital subscriptions. They make more from ads.

So... for the industry... I don't think this means much. It's an existence proof for paid subscriptions, as an important revenue source. It is not an existence proof for a paper funded primarily via subscriptions.

A remarkable (maybe even exciting to some journalists) is that this represents a digital version of the print business model. It's a good thing in the sense that this promotes good content, and less hyperbole and clickbait.

IDK how I feel about the desire to revive the print subcription model. The ability to share, read articles wherever they happen to be published, search the web for articles... paywalls break these. Maybe we need to go back to go forward, but this step feels like a regression... to me.


> That’s just insane.

It really isn't. It's why wall street is selling on the news.

> This is a great accomplishment for NYT but I’m worried about what it means for the rest of the industry.

It really isn't. It's why their share price dropped nearly 7% on the news. Their subscriber growth declined. That's not a good thing.

> NYT switching its business model has to be one of the most public and well-executed digital transformations of an old company ever.

NYT "switch" isn't even the most public or well-executed in their own industry. I'd give that nod to news corp and their properties - not that they are doing much better. NYT is playing catch-up.

> In the age of leaders publicly gaslighting, unrefereed global forums of social media which can be bought, and massive concentration of wealth at the top, fewer and consolidated reporting entities will be bad for the republic.

That's true. But the NYT is just as bought as any forum and gaslights as much as any politician. After all the NYT was created by a politician and a banker. It's in their DNA.

I do agree that fewer media entities will be detrimental to the republic. Unfortunately, the NYT along with CNN/WaPo is at the forefront of taking out smaller independent media entities.


Throw away account.

If News Corp is the standard we're holding news companies to, we have a serious issue. It's totally disorganized, has no idea what it's trying to achieve and more focused on political outcomes than it is building actual value for shareholders. There is zero leadership, and that leadership there is gets sent to unrelated (but related) companies like Fox.

If it wasn't for a few golden gooses that News Corp acquired decades again, there is no way they could fund their cash burning newspapers.

NYT producing any positive revenue is amazing, i hope they continue to build upon this.


I think he's referring to cases like the Times of London, which went totally paywalled and became profitable in 2014 for the first time since 2001:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/dec/02/tim...

(gotta link to the Guardian for that story because, of course, the Times' own coverage is paywalled)


Yeah fair enough. Having said that, News UK is very much in a completely different landscape. They've for sure made progress in many other ways, but that's significantly in part due to the fact that they're actually much better run businesses (until recently, the last few years have been messy), and not suffering from the kind of competition that they suffer from in the North American market.

I have no personal plans to buy their stock, but I'm not giving investment advice.


It's surprising to see how small they are. Only 3.8 million subscribers, and you have to imagine that some percentage of that barely reads their content.

I wonder if there's public numbers estimating how many people in total read the New York Times, and how it compares to emerging forms of media and entertainment like YouTube.

One criticism of New York Times that I've read online is that they won't allow you to cancel your digital subscription through their website. They force you to call them. I'm not sure if that has changed recently, but that's a pretty questionable dark pattern.


I canceled mine last week exactly because of those dark patterns. They also show ads even if you have a subscription, which sounds very backward to me. I'd love to support them, but those practices don't belong in 2018.

EDIT: Oh, looks like the cancellation didn't go through and they charged me for one more month, sweet. I might just go to my bank and tell them to block the source. Or even better, I may have found a trick. You can switch your payment to Paypal, and then Paypal let's you block/cancel reccuring payment. Let's see if that works.


> They also show ads even if you have a subscription, which sounds very backward to me.

So are you also cancelling your cable subscription, any magazine subscriptions, physical newspaper subscriptions, no longer driving on toll roads with billboard...?

I'm not saying it's right, or good, or valid--but the standard practice, for as long as I can remember, for most mediums, is to still show ads for things you pay for. So I'm not sure how that makes it "backwards".


A lot of people have cancelled their cable subscription and get by with ad-free services like Netflix and Hulu, MLB.tv, etc...

The other things you mention - magazines, newspapers, and billboards - usually don't track you and build a profile on you so they are less objectionable.


I believe Hulu actually has 2 tiers: one with ads, and higher paid tier that is ad-free. So they still use a pay model that includes showing ads. From what I have read, Netflix has at least tested showing trailers for their own content. That's still an ad, regardless of whether it's for their own content or not.

Magazines and newspapers may not track you to the extent that websites can and do. But they certainly sell your information to third parties. And they have at least some basic profile information about you (if you're subscribing to Cat Fancier, it's a pretty good bet you love cats). Even an address or zip code provides a likely income range, political leaning, etc.

Billboards.... well that depends what you consider a "billboard" and what you consider "tracking". There has certainly been stories here on HN about eyesight tracking, stores tracking you using cell-phone beacons to see where you are going. These things can and have been used in signage (i.e. "small billboards").

But that's not really the point, anyway. My original point was that it was not "backwards" to pay for a particular service and have it show you ads. It's very, very common. And in most cases it's actually the norm, in almost any type of media. So I stand by my original point: showing ads is not "backwards", it's the norm.


billboards - usually don't track you

With toll roads keeping a record of who travels on them when, it's only a matter of time until this revenue source gets tapped.


There's nothing special about toll roads. A billboard company could put a camera on their bill board pointed at the nearby road and collect the same data.

Because you can open a private/incognito/porn tab and view the same article without actually paying for it, and a premium should offer you something worth a constant amount of money draining from your account.

Paying 15 euros per month to get a daily crossword + cooking section (or 9 euros per month to not get them) is something not a lot of people are interested in.


The crossword is $40/year on its own. A great value.

This is a rather ironic statement, because this is just what many of us have done. I use ublock origin, read books from the library, watch Netflix without any ads (obviously), have no physical magazine or newspaper subscriptions. I (gasp) live in an area where I can walk to grocery stores and other shopping establishments. Okay, I guess I see occasional ads on the subway when I look up from my book...

I'm not sure how it's ironic in any way. Maybe in the Alanis Morissette usage of the word?

Whether or not you go out of your way to avoid ads isn't really germane to my point. I'm simply suggesting that it's not at all "backwards" to show ads for subscription services. That's just a fact. Are there exceptions? Absolutely. But it's just simply not the case that the concept is unusual or backwards.

Even if you think you aren't seeing ads, you're probably seeing product placements, or something similar.

Anyway, I'll leave you with one of my favorite NewsRadio clips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhrnMbhMgmw


It makes their content borderline unusable. Half the time the page won't scroll at all (mouse or keyboard) and I have to reload. The ads shift around and are always covering a good chunk of real estate on my screen. When you scroll and now your mouse arrow is over an ad, scrolling stops working. There are ads horizontally and vertically. It's bloody awful.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes, all of those things are cancelled. And it's not a huge loss to do so.

I'm not trying to be a smart-ass, but I actually don't use any of the services you listed above. I've tried cable a few times at a friends house was honestly blown away at how people could stand it.

>So are you also cancelling your cable subscription

Yep

>any magazine subscriptions

Yep

>physical newspaper subscriptions,

Yep

Don't forget about Hulu. Ads are my #1 reason for canceling most paid services.


You are an outlier though....

(but I must admit, if I did pull the plug on cable the primary reason (besides we really don't use it much) would be the fact I pay big bucks to watch a fuckton of advertising)


You have a different definition of outlier than is used in statistics. He hasn't been an outlier for years now regardless of how many advertising executives still want to think that he is.

What is so bad about advertising?

Watch out. There may be dragons with that PayPal approach. Although ingenious, and I commend that, you have achieved to end the payments but you have not correctly ended the contract. You may still be liable for the subscription fees, although you're not paying.

Probably best to call and terminate the contract the right way.


He has already called them and terminated the contract. They have just not processed the request.

Not paying is a sensible path in this case I would say.


So, no dragons then. Lol.

That’s why I don’t complain that much when my bank wants to replace my card every 18 months or so because of whatever fraud concern they have. A minor inconvenience but the benefit is that it automatically terminates all the subscriptions to services I don’t really care about or that I forgot I even had.

you have that many subscriptions that this is a thing?

If you're paying with a credit card, dispute the bill. Card companies can actually be quite pleasant to deal with on this stuff, and if you win you'll get your money back and NYT will owe the card company a fee for the chargeback. If you don't win, you'll at least cause the company a headache for their illegal billing practices.

The PayPal trick worked for me.

Go to your bank and chargeback/dispute the transaction. This will make NYT’s card processing fees go up (and enough chargebacks will cause their acquirer bank to drop them).

> One criticism of New York Times that I've read online is that they won't allow you to cancel your digital subscription through their website. They force you to call them. I'm not sure if that has changed recently, but that's a pretty questionable dark pattern.

This is illegal in Europe. By law, it has to be at least as easy to cancel subscriptions, as it is to buy them.

I love Europe. :)


It's also illegal in California, too, so I expect NYTimes will ultimately have to change their behavior: http://www.niemanlab.org/2018/07/thanks-to-california-a-news...

>> One criticism of New York Times that I've read online is that they won't allow you to cancel your digital subscription through their website. They force you to call them. I'm not sure if that has changed recently, but that's a pretty questionable dark pattern.

FWIW, I have a "cancel subscription" link in my profile.


Same, I canceled easily via the web app recently when they decided to doubled down on being another partisan rag like WaPo, feeding off the outrage culture which does well on social media these days.

I see it's paid off commercially, no doubt, as it's seemed to have attracted a new wider user base as the lower quality comment sections now reflects on every political article. Including the NYT selected preferred comments which I used to find held a basic level of neutrality and civililty.

Business is business though, and it's always hard to balance scale with quality.


  they decided to doubled down on being another partisan rag like WaPo, feeding off the outrage culture 
is it really a decision when the other option is financial ruin? Thoughtful, calm, reasoned posts don't stand a chance in the context of online media. The system we've ended up with fundamentally requires outrage/fear/clickbait to stand a chance of being heard among the noise.

Even the Financial Time is starting to drift in that direction...

I’m not alone then. I moved my subscription from the NYT to FT looking for a less politically slanted product but the tone at the FT is definitely going in the same direction. Any suggestions?

P.s I have to phone the FT to cancel my subscription apparently.


I like Wall Street Journal. It's more business-focused, and definitely has a conservative bend, with occasional editorials that are much more out there (the benefits of prayer in school or something), but since I'm left-leaning, it feels pretty good on balance.

The wall Street Journal lost my support after they came out with a shitty hit piece [0] against PewDiePie. I read some of their arguments, but found em to be pretty damn shallow.

Although they came out against him, if you actually watch the source videos I don't think they had a strong case. This was one of the key posts that made me lose trust in WSJ as an organization.

[0] https://www.wsj.com/articles/disney-severs-ties-with-youtube...


The still didn't hire an openly racist/sexist woman to their board.

Yes, perhaps partially, but would you not agree that the amount of outrage-worthy news has also increased? Perhaps the issue is not the lens, but the reality...

I really like Axios - less content, but shorter, with great newsletters, and fully ad supported (for now, I think they're really VC supported)

The Economist is good.

Well it is only starting to move in that direction, they are clearly running campaigns on certain topics (like feminism), and I skip any article on Trump, Brexit or Boris Johnson. But outside of that it’s still OK.

I’d say the most neutral news will come from news agencies (reuters, afp, etc). There you get the raw material (what happened) without the comments. For business news bloomberg is the (expensive) equivalent. But occasionally there is important original content in the FT so I am not contemplating cancelling my subscription for the time being.


I use WSJ personally.

Did you try to click on it? I had the same button last year when I cancelled. When I clicked, it took me to a page where I'm asked to call them?

I don't know of the legality but it is a common practice in Europe too.

Really? Where?

From my personal experience, just about everywhere. Just yesterday I wanted to cancel my AA membership (the motoring organisation, that is) and there was no other option but to phone.

Pertinent to this thread I had a subscription with The Times and the only cancellation option was by phone.

Anecdotally, it's very common with phone and utility providers too.


I recently tried to cancel my mcfit gym membership in Germany which was much more difficult than signing up. In this case you actually had to mail them a letter by post to cancel, where signing up was done on-site in 10minutes. Maybe you are referring to online subscriptions?

I don't know about the legality, but it is certainly common place over here even with periodicals that seem reputable (I recently cancelled New Scientist: sign-up was done easily any time online, cancellation has to be done by phone call inside office hours).

If you live in San Francisco, you can access the NYT app without paying for a subscription, as your public library system already has a deal with NYT.

It's a slight hassle as you need to go to a web site to get a code every 3 days, but it's probably preferable for those who don't read it every day: https://sfpl.libanswers.com/friendly.php?slug=faq/166904


Or you can just open an article in Incognito mode.

Interesting. How does it verify that you're a SF resident?

It doesn’t seem to ... that link worked from here in Fremont.

Yeah, I seem to have gotten access from Seattle. Sweet!

Uh, you realize that abusing that probably means they'll have to cancel the public service at some point, right?

Any idea how much NYTimes gets for this deal?

They apparently have no fewer than 130 million monthly readers, though, according to a press release from last year:

https://www.nytco.com/year-of-audience/

I̶ ̶g̶u̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶l̶o̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶p̶e̶o̶p̶l̶e̶ ̶b̶u̶y̶ ̶n̶e̶w̶s̶p̶a̶p̶e̶r̶s̶ ̶i̶n̶d̶i̶v̶i̶d̶u̶a̶l̶l̶y̶.̶ [edit: that number isn't for physical newspapers, see replies]


My mom delivers papers for the New York Times. The pay is garbage but she is old and getting Social Security. She likes to drive around and people-watch. She is also on the route that mostly delivers to Starbucks, Safeway, the airport, 7/11, and Albertsons. It is the best route since you just drop 20 papers on the doorstep of a Starbucks.

She delivers about 500 papers a night. And she is just one of the 20+ drivers in our city of 180K people.

So people do still buy them.


I buy the NYT from retail when I have the time and leisure to sit and read a newspaper. I like the fact that you can be in fairly provincial settings (small towns, etc.) but if there is a starbucks, the NYT will be for sale ...

I note that it is frequently sold out at those starbucks locations (after lunch, at least) so it appears that others buy them there as well.

FWIW, I am a sunday-only print version subscriber.


Their total print circulation is 2.1 million. [1] I always discount digital head counts since they can be grossly inflated with complete plausible deniability. And even when done well, it's probably accurate to do things like count somebody clicking on a single clickbait headline and then immediately leaving as a 'monthly reader' which creates a sort of dissonance between what we think of as monthly reader and what it actually means.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_newspapers_by_circulat...


OT: how did you strike through? Not described in the formatdoc ... [1]

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/formatdoc


This site will generate various Unicode versions of text - struck-through, bold, italic, bubble, all caps, script, Franktur and more:

https://yaytext.com/



These numbers are usually completely off. There is no standard basis or reliable determination for them, and it's in every publishers interests to quote as high as they can get away with.

Buying traffic from cheap ads can easily get you millions of "readers" who just hit the page from various IPs and leave some cookies around.


That's not true. Basically all periodicals' circulation numbers are independently audited, because nobody will buy ads from them without an audited figure. Only the very smallest fly-by-night publications self-audit.

Readers != circulation. Many hotels, coffee shops, airports, libraries, offices, and hundreds of other business subscribe, but it has nothing to do with who actually reads anything.

Also that number is mostly quoting digital viewers, which are not audited at all.


They have a print circulation of 2.1 million. [1] For comparison PewDiePie has 65 million subscribers on YouTube with his most popular video in the past couple of weeks hitting 12 million views, with an average of around 4 million.

I think this is why the media, in general and including the NYT, has become more partisan and more emotional. It's being used as a consumer retention mechanic. Impartial news done well is informative but not necessarily entertaining, which means it's probably not sustainable in the current zeitgeist of America.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_newspapers_by_circulat...


I'm quite sure if you add up all the unique people who read an article on nytimes.com, or watched one of their videos, they are still slightly ahead of most youtube stars.

I also tend to discount arguments that the NYTimes has shifted its tone due to economic pressure. Journalists, even some I know at lesser publications, consider it a point of pride to always do the opposite of what corporate management tells them to do. While the CEO can obviously redecorate the foyer etc., it's almost unheard of for management to get involved in editorial decisions.

I would attribute the NYT's changes to a general trend towards colloquial style (i. e. casual fridays). The Republicans' turn towards destructive populism has also made it far harder to pretend it's just business-as-usual.


> One criticism of New York Times that I've read online is that they won't allow you to cancel your digital subscription through their website. They force you to call them. I'm not sure if that has changed recently, but that's a pretty questionable dark pattern.

They let me cancel via chat a few months ago. Obviously I'd have prefered the press of a button to cancel, but even via chat it was a quick and painless affair.


I canceled via chat last week and was shocked at how painless it was.

I'd heard the same story about how hard it was to cancel, but I was also able to cancel through a chat on their website a couple months ago. It was quick and easy.

Far more than 3.8 people actually read the NYT. First, because it is often handed around in families/at work, or left in a subway for the next passenger to read.

And everyone else gets to read or hear about the Time's work the next day, when every other news outlet copies their work.

Nobody appreciates the value of journalism, because we feel inundated in it. But it's only copying and distribution that are free. When you try following everything back to its original source, it's a surprisingly small number of publications doing most of the work.


The main page only gives the phone number, but in the policy they also provide an email address you can communicate with to cancel [1]. Still, that is pretty frustrating when it should just be a few clicks. I recently had to turn off cable internet, which took an hour long conversation as the only method available, whereas turning off the power to the apartment took about 30 seconds after logging into their platform.

[1] https://help.nytimes.com/hc/en-us/articles/115015852367-Digi...


It's also very hard to cancel even by calling. When I cancelled my subscription last year, it wasted twenty minutes of my time even though I was firm throughout. The retaining person at one point even insulted me when I didn't catch something he said and said excuse me could you say that again - his response was to start doing an exaggerated accent of what he assumes to be my race (based on the name).

Wall Street Journal was the same when I wanted to cancel my trial online subscription. I imagine that a lot of newspapers are similar now.

Yup I subscribed, but unsubscribed after a couple weeks after I saw that. Pretty scummy way to handle un-subscriptions.

seems common even for reputable magazines. Canceling my Economist subscription also was quite a pain.

As much as I like the NYT, as mentioned below, their unsubscribe functionality sucks. I sent them an email last December requesting to unsubscribe. I didn't follow up on it and eventually forgot about it.

Eventually, they email me around May to apologise that my email was "delayed" due to a technical glitch they had just discovered. Great but I still never got an actual unsubscription processed.

A few months later, around July while doing a "subscription spring cleaning", I called them up to cancel it. The guy asked why I was leaving (6 months+ with no customer support answer) and promptly processed my cancellation.

A few weeks later, I was emailed a "resubscription offer" which genuinely frustrated me as you might imagine.


Their mobile app is worse: Any article shows 7 instances of the same ad in a rather short article. So any article is basically 70% ads. This is even when you have a paid subscription. Even the NYT lost the high ground on the ad-free reading game.

> A few weeks later, I was emailed a "resubscription offer" which genuinely frustrated me as you might imagine.

If it's a single one, I don't think they're overdoing it. Resubscription offers are pretty much standard practice. I know some people who regularly cancel their cellphone contract after the minimum duration in order to get discount offers for the next contract period.


I get them every other week generally. It was more the timing that annoyed me, haha

Same. They completely ignored my unsubscribe email?

I purchased an annual digital subscription and I'm never even logged into NYT. I get my news from various sources, including NYT, but I don't go to NYT for news, it comes to me through Reddit and Apple news.

I consider the subscription more of a donation, because we are living in a time where the news media has to be supported -- we can't have it die.

I wonder if my use case resonates with other people my age.


I’m in the same boat. I open the app maybe once or twice a week. But I support their work and effort. I’ll pay more once my student loans are done.

As a paid sub, really don't like that they still attempt to blast you with ads.

Try https://www.nytimes.com/section/todayspaper, should be ad free for subscribers (it's a closer approximation to the actual print version)

I would also like to recommend https://app.nytimes.com/ , which is a different approach to the same content.

The Today's Paper link is also a good way to scrape for data analysis (the API isn't great), such as this piece I did looking at their coverage over a decade:

The deaths that are most covered are a tiny fraction (<1%) of the way we die

https://www.nemil.com/s/part3-horror-films.html


This was my experience with The Times in the UK plus equally difficult to unsubscribe.

If you use Revolut to sign up with a virtual card you can just disable the card if you want to unsubscribe and they're difficult about it

Yeah that's a tough one for me.

I hate it too, it seems "off" with the rest of the internet. But on the other hand, print subscriptions have always included ads too, so not really sure what's right.


I love their 'The Daily' podcast. They pick one topic everyday and dive deep over 30 mins. Overall a happy NYT subscribed for last 6 months. I paid 110$ for 1 year membership and got a free Google home device. Great deal!

That's on my daily rotation too; but I still don't sub to NYT.

After seeing the low NYT subscriber #'s in this thread, it's amazing to me how much reach 'new media' creators have. There are hundreds of YouTubers that get more eyeballs daily. Crazy.


[flagged]


I listen to the Daily as well, definitely recommended no shill.

https://www.nytimes.com/podcasts/the-daily


The NYT has been paying roughly the same amount each year for production of news for the last few years, and a steadily increasing amount of "general, sales and admin", even as their gross income from subscriptions has shot up, and their income from advertising has plummeted.[1]

I really struggle with that. That isn't how this is supposed to work. Escaping the broken advertising model and moving to a reader-funded model is supposed to give you scope to shake off overheads, to clarify your business's purpose and to slimline and focus operations to improve the quality of content at the price point. That's the mantra for the new renaissance of journalism, in which the NYT has been hailed as a massive success story.

I don't by any means mean to denigrate the NYT - they produce some excellent reporting, but it seems that from a business perspective there is something askew here. The Guardian in the UK has managed to do exactly what was expected - the proportion of their staff who are journalists has increased steadily for a decade as their revenue split has shifted towards subscription, and their finances have steadily improved (they're still not in the black, but it looks like they will be this year, for the first time since the business model fell apart). On the other side, it seems like the NYT are posting profits, but without fundamentally reshaping the business.

There is a massive backlash in this thread against dark patterns to prevent subscriber loss and continued advertising even after subscription. It feels like the company may be selling the goodwill and brand value that are the cornerstone to the reader-funded, reader-focused new age of journalism in order to get their profit margins looking healthy, despite failing to cut overheads, which is where the profit increases in this new model ought to be coming from.

I would really, deeply like to be shown to be wrong. We need sustainable, reader-funded businesses producing great journalism and I want to think the NYT is one of them.

[1] https://s1.q4cdn.com/156149269/files/doc_financials/annual/2... (page 55)


I pay for the Economist and think it's worth every penny. Wonder how many magazines/news sites can actually get users to pay for their content though. I suspect the number is low.

There seems to be a natural opportunity for ISPs in a certain country to pay to have all their customers unblocked by major publications relevant to that public - and have a certain fraction of the customer bill disbursed depending on online circulation.

I would gladly pay 20% more to my ISP to have hassle free access to major online publications, knowing that revenue helps journalists produce quality news, and that I only pay for what I use. instead of New York Times having 3 million subscribers for 9$/a month and lose a good part of that revenue on customer acquisition and card fees, they could have 100 million subscribers at 30c each, their respective revenue share from a $5-10 ISP bill price increase. While at the same time, supporting 30 other papers the size of NYT, or thousands of smaller, local ones.

That's because the NYT online success story is a very rare bird today.


I like this idea, but I wonder, would that be a net neutrality violation? Honest question, because I can easily imagine this being rephrased: “If you don’t pay for the extra news package, you cannot access NYT for free”.

I think the intent behind net neutrality is not to prevent bundling but technical discrimination. Your ISP can bundle free Hulu with your data plan, as long as you can also get Netflix and Youtube at the same quality with no bandwidth throttling.

So as long as there is no technical discrimination and you can access and subscribe to other news sources, net neutrality is respected.


There's no such thing as a free Hulu.

If your ISP is taking a share of your subscription fee and giving it to Hulu, your subscription will cost more.


Yup, that's precisely the idea. The grandparent was concerned that this masked price increase (for Hulu or for NYT) is a breach of net neutrality.

I've noticed a lot of discussions about net neutrality are actually about other things like that.

In non-technical circles net neutrality has become a catch-all term for improving speed, lowering cost, and otherwise regulating ISPs.

I doubt the narrow technical definition will survive.


Great, then you can pay the extra 20% on my ISP bill.

i would pay for their subscription if they didnt blast me with ads even after paying.

not only do they advertise to you after you pay, if you are running adblock they attempt to guilt you into disabling it.

it's especially galling because the washington post costs me $27/year and doesn't bug me to disable my adblocker, and nytimes is $12/mo plus a guilt trip about "supporting journalism".


reminds me of wikipedia.

1) [massive funding campaign banner plea]

2) funds and visit wikipedia again

3) [massive funding campaign banner plea]

.. I don't know, use a cookie to make the banner smaller at least..


And after seeing how bullshit their unsubscribe flow is, I don't think I'll be joining back any time soon. As much as I want to support their work, these dark patterns are despicable.

I would pay another couple dollars a month to not have ads in the app (though I am thankful that they tend to not be hugely intrusive). Overall pretty happy with the service.

Agreed. I hate my NYT subscription exactly for this reason. But I’m tempted to keep it to support them. What a sad reading experience: they show the same ad 6 times in a short article.

NYT employees: please lobby internally for this. We can pay 2$ more for no ads. How much % of the ad traffic is subscription users anyway?


I'd sub if the basic package included the crosswords too

It’s strange it doesn’t include the full crossword. I really like the mini crossword game however and “set” puzzles

While that's great they should have taken a page out of Nasper's book who used to look up to the NYT as to what to be in the digital world.

I pay $40 a year for the crossword only and it's a great deal. Includes the archives, too!

I subscribed the moment they hired Susan Flower (susanthesquark). We often call for the boycott of bad actors so we should reward the good actors, I feel.

I couldn't subscribe again when they hired Sarah Jeong (sarahjeong) but if I could, I would do it again in a heartbeat.


Can you say more about why it's a good thing that they hired Sarah Jeong, who has a history of racist and sexist tweets?

It's interesting, I wasn't at all aware of her until a day or two ago. The first link I read about her was this:

https://www.vox.com/2018/8/3/17644704/sarah-jeong-new-york-t...

Which shows her "racist" tweets, and shows how they're only really racist if you strip away all context for them. It then shows how the alt-right use this as a tactic.

I found that very interesting, and I also now find it interesting to see who comments on these. Do you think Vox -- without attacking it as a source here -- is wrong that these Tweets have been read out of context? Were you aware that they were? Why do you repeat this talking point?


I found that article quite unconvincing (I am not alt-right nor American). A lot of her tweets were clearly racist even when taken in context (e.g. “dumbass f*ing white people").

The context should be provided in the Vox article but it is not. Is there any article where all of the offensive tweets are available in their context?

Gonna need a lot of context to cover the span of 5 years of those tweets. That or there is no context and she's just racist.

Burden of proof is on Vox here...


>Which shows her "racist" tweets, and shows how they're only really racist if you strip away all context for them.

Can you think of a context in which it's OK for a white/asian person to use the "N-word"?


... many? Any meta discussion of the term; when providing a verbatim transcript of what someone said; when enumerating racial terms; historical context; etc etc.

What's your point, exactly?


So, when Sarah Jeong was using racial slurs for white people, was it in "verbatim transcript" or was she "enumerating racial terms"?

> was using racial slurs for white people

I've put some effort into trying to find these, and come up short. I was kinda hoping she'd said "honky" or something. Here's what I was able to find:

https://twitter.com/GarbageHuman_/status/1024894655253495808...

I am phenomenally interested to learn what the racial slurs for white people! Let's have them!

PS: I'm a white male. I've lived about half my life in two Black-majority countries and one Asian-majority country. I literally don't think I've ever had a racial slur used against me.


Do you think we'd even get to the point where it's being discussed if the tweets were about black people?

Why does the supposed context claimed by the person making the statements only matter when someone goes too far on the left, but not on the right?

Surely there are other potential editors to hire. Are they truly so low on candidates that this is the best person they could find for the job? What does it say about their competence as an organization?


It's sad to see (judging by up / down votes) that this community supports the endorsement of a racist (Jeong) and down votes who questions that. She said some seriously awful things, and the NYT's decision to hire her should be called into question.

Yes please explain why its a good thing to subscribe again to a news site that defends someone who wants to #CancelWhitePeople? Are you suddenly pro free speech because the hate is directed at white people?

https://twitter.com/RealSexyCyborg/status/102628661051659469...

Since everyone is talking about the "racist" tweets. Maybe we should also remember how Sarah dog piled onto Naomi Wu.


It should say "Thanks to cuts"

24 Mil is a really really bad read for the NYT. This means newspapers are in a bad way.

The greatest marketing trick the NYT has ever pulled off is presenting themselves as the last bastion of objectivity in the trump era.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I think the most recent Sarah Jeong controversy and virtually all reporting on migration, feminism, campus politics etc shows this. Mind you this is from a European perspective where I see almost all reporting about politics here as copying off talking points from the far left.

This is the true genius of their marketing though: They are actually as polarized as any other source in the culture war, but market themselves to an audience that likes to think of themselves as rational, objective, sensible.


"Far left" is a pretty polarising way to describe them.

I'm from the UK, which is a country which is firmly on the right of most of Europe, and policy in the US is extremely far right of here. The reporting I've seen from the New York Times is barely left, let alone "far left".

The right seems to have moved so far out to the far right, and yet people act like the centre-point of the Repbulicans and Democrats is still somehow the neutral position.


"UK is on the right of most of Europe". That's a wrong premise in my opinion. While economic policy is definitely more liberal than the average, social left is pervasive in both main political parties, and there's a solid consensus around open borders, gender equality and other forms of egalitarianism.

Uh... you really haven't been paying attention if you think there is a "solid consensus" on open borders in the UK. We have never had "open borders", and Brexit is going to mean reduced immigration.

Economic policy is a part of people's lives - public spending is a big issue (e.g: healthcare spending), and we are very far from left in that regard. We aren't terrible for social policy, no, but we aren't leading the pack either.

oriol18 7 days ago [flagged]

You commies never have enough. Until your country turns Venezuela and then walk away from your responsibility

If you keep breaking the guidelines like this, we'll ban the account.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


I did not call the NYT a far left magazine.

I said their reporting on EUROPEAN politics ("politics here") copies points from the far left (e.g. all mass migration is unquestionably good, parties against it must be right wing populists if not racists, etc).

I think their reporting on campus politics, identity politics is also far left, but other than that their stance on Iraq war etc is more Hillary-left than traditional 'left'. It's pointless semantics though, outrage mode is already engaged in this thread and it will probably soon turn into a dumpster fire.

Someone cannot just be wrong or inaccurate, they must be the enemy ('right rant'), and culture wars demand I first clarify I am on 'the right side of the issues' before saying anything. The more objective people think they are, the blinder towards their own bias. Of course I am biased too, but what people engage with in my post is the 'far left' comment on European politics instead of the actual point.

My point was that the NYT engages in culture war because it sells. I can agree with many issues on the NYT but still observe that and be annoyed by it, but that does not matter in tribalistic discourse.


Maybe we have seen different articles from them - I admit I'm definitely not an avid reader - but I haven't seen what you are describing.

You claim they write articles saying "mass migration is unquestionably good" but even googling now, I can't find anything of the sort - just articles that try to point out the negative effects of migration are massively overstated and flat-out-lied about. Nowhere do I see them arguing that we want more migration or should have no controls, just that migrants are used as scapegoats and the issue is misrepresented a lot of the time by right-wing parties.

Your point just appears to be "they report on some stuff and I don't agree with them on it", therefore you they are intentionally causing a "culture war"?

Policy progresses - the idea that this is some new thing that has never happened before is flat-out wrong. I see the democrats very gradually shifting left, while I see the Republicans sprinting to the right. Blaming the gap, the "culture war" on the left seems disingenuous.

At some point, when the Republicans are actively calling for discriminating against and reducing the quality of life of friends and family: denying them healthcare, kicking them out of the army, etc... You can't expect people to just sit back and accept it. It hurts. Just saying "this is wrong and it's wrong to support it" really doesn't seem excessive.

Saying it's a "culture war" and that they need to stop calling people out on supporting this policy sure sounds like an attempt to shut people up, rather than saying why the policy is actually good.


[flagged]


"Uncontrolled immigration" isn't something they are arguing for, and feminism is a "far-left" viewpoint now?

This "far-left" talk just seems fabricated to create a "both sides" narrative with the alt-right.

The idea that immigrants are people who deserve respect and opportunity, and the idea that women deserve equality are not "far-left", they are cornerstones of the underlying values of the left - that people are people and deserve rights and opportunity, regardless of factors out of their control.


What does feminism have to do with the far left? Neither the USSR nor Maoist China were particularly trailblazing as regards feminism.

This makes sense to me as a characterization, thank you, although I don't understand why people get so upset about these distinctions as if I had personally offended them. Where I am from dragging the US into wars is naturally seen critically across parties, so far left is just about the issues you mentioned.

You're just saying you don't like their editorial. So.. don't subscribe!

There is no trickery here.

Far left.. you really have no idea how silly you look. There is almost no institution in the USA which actively publishes a broadsheet newspaper you could call left, let alone "far" left. Middle of the road looks pretty left from a ranty right view maybe.

(I'm a Guardian subscriber btw)


  There is almost no institution in the USA which actively publishes a broadsheet newspaper you could call left, let alone "far" left. Middle of the road looks pretty left from a ranty right view maybe.
You are correct and GP betrays his bias here. You want to see far left check out Chapo Trap House, thats far left and it's a far cry from what NYT is publishing. Discouraging to see this here.

To be honest I think you are just proving my point by getting upset and calling me 'ranty right'. Tribalism sells because it triggers emotions like these. It works for the Guardian just as well as it works for the NYT, Fox news or anyone else.

Oh please. You said far left. You invited the response. The NYT is simply not left, or far left. To clarify can you self identify your position in this spectrum? You think you are middle-of-the-road and the NYT is far left journalism?

Look, I really don't care. Go talk to people with a range of views but saying the NYT is left wing journalism just beggars belief. Have you ever read a left wing paper? Here's a hint: the guardian is not a left wing paper. The morning star, which was the daily worker. That's a left wing paper.


I think your disagreement mainly stems from using different terminology: naturalgradient uses "left" as in "socially left/socially progressive", while you use "left" as in "economically left/socialism".

Plausible. On either choice, is the NYT a far left paper?

Btw, I don't think the accusation of its political leaning holds water, in saying plausible I mean I think you're right that the other person believes social justice headlines indicate left wing when to me, they just indicate normal middle of the road democrat positions.


Agree. Same view looking at it from India.

They aren't bridging any gaps or increasing understanding in society. They are playing the same game everyone else is playing in amplifying an us VS them narrative. Because that is what the underlying social media architecture of likes/clicks/views/upvotes produces in everyone.

There is no genius about this.

It's just their method to survive. Obv it benefits them temporarily but the costs are accruing to society.

Journalism cannot be built on top of likes/views/clicks/retweets/upvotes. Stuff that is built on top of that architecture conditions journalists and talking heads to pander. That architecture must change. There is no sane reason for these numbers to be shown to journalists and their readers in real time.

It's like watching E.B.Skinners behaviour experiments with rats.

Changing this architecture of real time counts used as behaviour conditioners can be changed only by the tech world.


Maybe in the past the NYT had earned their reputation as a trustworthy source, but they're certainly eroding that reputation at a blistering pace. They might survive as a partisan publisher, plenty do, but I always go into NYT articles expecting bias in reporting.

It's not just the politics, either. I ran across this article from just a couple of days ago and couldn't believe it got past an editor: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/06/well/why-take-diet-advice...

> Keep in mind that the life expectancy of people before the advent of agriculture 15,000 years ago rarely reached or exceeded 40, so their risk of developing the so-called diseases of civilization is unknown.

To completely ignore how infant mortality affects life expectancy shows a complete lack of knowledge of history or statistics.


I don't understand your point about the Paleo diet.

I just Googled, and apparently the "ignore how infant mortality affects life expectancy" is a talking point of pro-Paleo websites. This is a good point (although it seems to ignore the high mortality rate of women during childbirth), but seems pretty irrelevant to the rest of the article.

Ignoring that, it seemed a reasonably well thought-out counterpoint to another fad diet.


I think the issue is that 40 years seems to be extrapolated from an average, but the distribution of human lifespans (especially in pre-modern times) is bi-modal so the average doesn't tell you much about how long they lived conditioned on reaching adulthood. I found mostly questionable-looking paleo-diet related results as well, but to their credit the chain of citations led back to peer-reviewed research such as this:

> we see that on average 57 percent, 64 percent, and 67 percent of children born survive to age 15 years among hunter-gatherers, forager-horticulturalists, and acculturated hunter-gatherers. Of those who reach age 15, 64 percent of traditional hunter-gatherers and 61 percent of forager-horticulturalists reach age 45. The acculturated hunter-gatherers show lower young adult mortality rates, with 79 percent surviving to age 45, conditional on reaching age 15.

http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/gurvenlab/sites/secure.lsit.ucsb.ed...


Sure, I agree it's a good point. But it does seem to be a fairly minor point in the whole article, and I really don't understand what the OP's point was.

Was it just they didn't like the criticism of paleo? Because honestly, to me publishing reasonably well thought out criticism of anything seems exactly what a good newspaper should do.


> There have been no studies of large groups of people who have followed the currently popular versions of the Paleo diet for decades to assess their long-term health effects.

You could say similar things about climate change. The science is, and always will be, out. That's the nature of science.


>> There have been no studies of large groups of people who have followed the currently popular versions of the Paleo diet for decades to assess their long-term health effects.

> You could say similar things about climate change. The science is, and always will be, out. That's the nature of science.

This is a false equivalency.

Science requires experiments to support or refute hypotheses. The fact that new experiments may cause us to revisit a theory does not mean that one can assert any arbitrary theory to be correct.


Where did I assert any theory as being correct. Stop twisting my words. You're seeing an agenda where there isn't one.

I can echo that. Their journalism feels predictable, not only the opinion, but also the writing of it. The way they approach the subject from an observer, and possibly assumed superior perspective make me feel detached and indifferent as with the reporter. Other left-learning publication, like Guardian, suffers less from such formulaic problem, make me wonder this might be intentional.

What’s far left about criticizing yet another fad diet?

This is why these big papers still exist despite questionable profit mechanisms. They are propaganda mouth pieces. There's a reason billionaires buy newspaper companies.

Everybody thinks that they're unbiased, and everyone else is biased. Hence, the target audience of any newspaper thinks it's unbiased.

Mind you this is from a European perspective where I see almost all reporting about politics here as copying off talking points from the far left.

The largest newspaper, by circulation, in Germany is a right wing tabloid (Bild).

The largest newspaper, by circulation, in the UK is a right wing tabloid (The Sun).

The largest newspaper, by circulation, in Austria is a right wing tabloid (Kronen).


The NYT keeps popping up on UK focused subreddits in the last few months with articles extremely critical of our conservative politicians.

I knew NYT by reputation but never knew they took such an interest in another countries politics. Is there really an appetite for this content across the pond?

If they're trying to appeal to a broader international market then they seem to be doing a good job. Personally if i want X person bashed for 2000 words i already have far too much choice as is.


I don't know how old you are, but from a 40-yo perspective, the NYT being seen as "leftist" is a terrifying signal of how right-wing the mainstream political window has gone in the US. The traditional megaphone of the East-Coast moneyed, the newspaper that sold the Iraq War to the public with lie after lie, is now seen as a bastion of liberalism.

The US is in a very dark place right now. Last time it happened, it took Katrina to briefly break the spell. I wonder what it will take this time.


The NY Times recently hired an editor who tweeted things like "kill all the men", "fuck the police", "it's sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men".

I'd like to think that's well outside the mainstream political window.

VSTN 7 days ago [flagged]

This is because there is a massive confusion of the political spectrum which is better divided as 4 parts rather than 2.

The NYT isn't left at all when it comes to its views on how the economy should be run. But on social issues it certainly is a left rag. In fact, in what kind of environment but the leftomost extremist side could one tolerate the presence of an employee like Sarah Jeong who said such nice things as "white people are only fit to live underground like groveling goblins"? Not only did they not fire her but they even came to her defense.

The NYT is the poster child of the new generation of leftists, whose core obsessions are not whether the proletariat earns enough to make a decent living but whether they can dye their hair blue and still find a job.


Arguably, the kind of environment in which one elects a President who generalises an entire nationality as criminals and rapists except for "a few, [who] I assume, are good people." If you want to find how low the bar has fallen, understand that one side of the political divide lowered it long before Jeong got there.

Your final assertion is not worth addressing.


Sarah Jeong's anti-white, anti-male, anti-cop tweets date back to 2013, long before the election.

https://archive.fo/7m0Tz

I don't agree with you that "they did it first" is a valid defense for this behavior, but if it were, it would be a defense for Trump, not for Jeong.


By "one side of the political divide" I'm not referring to Trump specifically, but the online subcultures that dovetailed into the alt-right, which most certainly existed before Jeong's tweets.

EDIT: To further clarify, I'm not saying "they did it first" is a defence. I'm explaining that this is the context that Vox article going around is saying is missing when people want to condemn those tweets -- the tone and vocabulary of a certain part of Twitter. Jeong's mistake was posting those tweets with a particular audience in mind - one that understood the touchstones of these conversations (e.g. "kill all men" being obviously not a serious rallying cry to murder males) - when, although Twitter can sometimes feel like a clubhouse, it's still a public forum. At the time, I, and many other people situated within that context, understood Jeong's meaning perfectly, and even as a white man I empathise with what she's saying. Others may not be aware of that context, or choose to ignore it, which is where the fraughtness of her comments lay, not the content itself.

I'm certain the response to this will be along the lines of "Then why are white men persecuted for making racist jokes?" and the answer is because young Asian-American women have a lot more to fear from young white men than vice versa, which is the power dynamic at the heart of why Jeong's comments can only be called "racist" in the strictest definition of the term, disregarding the present situation. But this is all getting too complex to outline in a comment unambiguously, so I hesitate to say even that much.


Then don't use "the kind of environment in which one elects a President..." (in 2016) as a defense.

If you must use the "they did it first" defense, at least use specific examples from 2013 to defend her.


I've edited my comment to reflect that that is not actually what I'm trying to do here.

In response to your edit, I don't agree that white men should be expected to endure such racist abuse just because "young Asian-American women have a lot more to fear from young white men than vice versa". It's worse for some than for others but it's bad for everyone.

But I doubt I'll change your mind about that.

The left mostly seems to want a selective silencing of right-wing voices. They defend Sarah Jeong, but the NY Times fired Quinn Norton under similar circumstances. Alex Jones is being silenced without a word of protest from the people defending Sarah Jeong. Twitter suspended Candice Owens for rephrasing Sarah Jeong.

If the NY Times wants to be left-wing publication, that's fine, but we should recognize it as such.


"some people did it first" is not worth addressing either.

[flagged]

jdhn 7 days ago [flagged]

>Do you really think that she was being serious when she said "white people are only fit to live underground like groveling goblins"?

Yes. The fact that she has many other tweets that disparage white people shows that that wasn't just a one off.

gthtjtkt 7 days ago [flagged]

The only joke here is the fact that you were gullible enough to fall for her "I wasn't serious" excuse.

https://archive.fo/7m0Tz

Hundreds of racist tweets over a period of years. That's just good old fashioned racism, nothing humorous about it.


The complete and irreversible collapse of several important ecosystems is on the horizon...

> The greatest marketing trick the NYT has ever pulled off is presenting themselves as the last bastion of objectivity in the trump era.

Considering most of the nation doesn't trust the NYT, not sure it was much of a trick. People trust foxnews more than the NYT. Think about that.

The real trick that the NYT ( along with CNN, MSNBC, etc ) pulled was forcing google, youtube, facebook and much of social media to give it an unfair privileged position to increase network traffic. They got a short term boost but it wasn't as significant as they'd hoped and it certainly won't last. Already, the subscriber growth has declined along with overall traffic.

Keep in mind that if we get a recession, the first thing the new subs will cut is the NYT subscription. I'm speaking from experience here. Also, as people get older and have more experience reading the NYT, their mistrust of NYT increases. Not a good sign for a trust based product.

And their activities ( hirings, stories and agenda pushing ) isn't helping.

radmuzom 7 days ago [flagged]

It need not be a trick. I subscribed the day Trump won because I wanted to support what is generally considered “left-wing” sources. I am also strongly anti-conservative and anti-libertarian, and generally agree with the NYT stance on most issues.

even their incoherent stance on racism as illustrated in the Sarah Jeong debacle? I could live with a left bias but not their blatant hypocrisy.

Weaponizing old, out-of-context tweets is just the new alt-right playbook. James Gunn is the other obvious example.

Yes, these people posted things that were bad ideas. They also apologised, made it clear they were not serious about what was said, and moved past it.

To claim it makes their entire coverage of racism incoherent is... misleading at best. Imitating the masses of people trolling you as a joke may be a bad idea, but it's not comparable to the racism sustained by minorities that regularly damages their quality of life. Pretending the two things are the same is severely downplaying the severity of the latter.

People grow, change and learn. I've known people who used to be racist, and I don't hold it against them, because they have changed and deserve a chance to be a part of society, as long as they don't act like that any more.

Trying to stop anyone on the left who has ever made a mistake from having a voice, long after they made those mistakes is insane. The fact that alt-right voices arguing in bad faith are actively targeting the people trying to change the very issues at hand shows the issue.


Oh, please. "Weaponizing old tweets", writings, or politics is not a phenomenon particular to the alt-right. Examples abound:

Kevin Williamson, formerly of the National Review, was recently fired by The Atlantic for old tweets.

James Damore, a Google engineer, was fired for making controversial statements about gender science that feminists at the company didn't like.

Brendan Eich, a software developer who created JavaScript and was a co-founder of Mozilla, was forced to resign as the CEO of that company after making a political donation.

And there are many more instances of "repressive tolerance" in Big Tech, which Herbert Marcuse and others have described as a tolerance for 'all viewpoints' which actually contributes to social oppression in our culture.

The weaponizing of alternate viewpoints in the interests of "social justice" isn't owned by any one political faction, it's deployed nowadays by all of them, and it leads to a corrosive and toxic public discourse and environment.


There is a big difference between pointing out someone is actively acting in bad faith, and taking content they have apologised for and say they disagree with now when they don't act in that way any more.

> Kevin Williamson, formerly of the National Review, was recently fired by The Atlantic for old tweets.

He spoke with the editor who fired him because that was still his viewpoint, not an old tweet he apologised for or regretted.

> Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg forced to conclude that his new hire did, in fact, believe what he said he believed. “The language he used in this podcast — and in my conversations with him in recent days — made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views,”

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/5/17202182/the-atlantic-kevin-wil...

> James Damore, a Google engineer, was fired for making controversial statements about gender science that feminists at the company didn't like.

He stood by his comments, in fact, he doubled down on them.

> Brendan Eich, a software developer who created JavaScript and was a co-founder of Mozilla, was forced to resign as the CEO of that company after making a political donation.

This isn't historic, that's current behaviour.

> And there are many more instances of "repressive tolerance" in Big Tech, which Herbert Marcuse and others have described as a tolerance for 'all viewpoints' which actually contributes to social oppression in our culture.

> The weaponizing of alternate viewpoints isn't owned by any one political faction, it's deployed nowadays by all of them, and it leads to a corrosive and toxic public environment.

Your examples are different things - it's perfectly reasonable, in fact, I would argue a moral obligation, not to accept bad actions and support of abhorrent policy from those around you.

My point was that people can and do change - if any of these people renounced their viewpoints, acted in good faith and changed, I would happily support them in any endeavour. That isn't what happened in these cases - there is a fundamental difference.

Even if this does happen to people on the right (and I'm sure there must be cases of it, as with all things), that doesn't justify the recent spate of cases being intentionally pushed by the alt-right. The particular instance being discussed here is wrong in the same way it would be wrong if it was someone on the right.


> Weaponizing old, out-of-context tweets is just the new alt-right playbook

No, it was the cultural mainstream that made it acceptable to fire people over communication mistakes. See the "Just kidding, I'm white" tweet[1], Tim Hunt getting fired by Twitter before even getting off his plane[2], or in tech: Donglegate, where people on both sides were fired.

NYT should totally hire Sarah Jeong, but as a leftie, I have to agree with the "alt-right" that the double standard is ridiculous. The Verge sums it up pretty well[3]: Nobody should attack our journalists for their tweets, with the implication that firing everyone else was a great idea.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-t...

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/13/tim-hunt-for...

[3] https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/2/17644878/the-verge-new-yor...


It isn't a double standard, because the standard is consistent:

- People are responsible for what they say and can and should be fired if they support abhorrent policy or abuse people.

- People should always be able to reform and come back into society if they apologise, state they don't support their previous actions, and act differently.

These things are not contradictory.

Right now, there is an intentional effort by the alt-right to dig up these kinds of things from people who fit the latter category and raise them and promote them to try and minimise the voices of people who are now promoting things they dislike. It has nothing to do with the original issue, just the means to an end.

I'm not saying that the problem doesn't exist elsewhere, but that doesn't mean it's right that these people are targeted.


> Weaponizing old, out-of-context tweets is just the new alt-right playbook. James Gunn is the other obvious example.

They merely adopted left's usual tactics.

Personally, I don't support firing people over their private views, but in this case it's blatant hypocrisy. For example, a few months ago NYT fired Quinn Norton for almost the same thing[1]. Almost, because her old racist tweets weren't targeting white people.

>Yes, these people posted things that were bad ideas. They also apologised, made it clear they were not serious about what was said, and moved past it.

Sarah did not apologize. All she did was claiming that she's a victim.

[1] - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/business/media/quinn-nort...


Your link is broken, but she absolutely has apologised: https://twitter.com/sarahjeong/status/1025050118989332480

Yes, she was a victim, she also admitted she was wrong, and said she would not do it again, and she has not.

> They merely adopted left's usual tactics. > Personally, I don't support firing people over their private views, but in this case it's blatant hypocrisy. For example, a few months ago NYT fired Quinn Norton for almost the same thing[1]. Almost, because her old racist tweets weren't targeting white people.

If it was the same, then maybe it was wrong with her too. I can't find an apology, however, so it seems different to me.


>Your link is broken

Sorry, fixed now.

>she absolutely has apologised: https://twitter.com/sarahjeong/status/1025050118989332480

It's a non-apology, she basically said "some people were mean to me, which gave me a right to be a racist and I'm the real victim".

> If it was the same, then maybe it was wrong with her too. I can't find an apology, however, so it seems different to me.

As I said, I don't support firing people for that, I'm just pointing out hypocrisy.


Come on, even if what you said wasn't absurd,i.e you can be racist if someone attacks you on Twitter, the NYT fired people for much, much less than the disgusting vitriol the woman posted for years.

> i.e you can be racist if someone attacks you on Twitter

That is not what I said. I said she admitted what she said was wrong, publicly renounced the tweets, and stopped doing it. That is literally the opposite of what you are claiming I said.

Yes, it also matters that her intent at the time was not a belief that white people are inferior but to mimic the style of people abusing her to point out the absurdity. Was it the wrong course of action? Yes, but not all wrong things are equal. As I just said, the fact she has apologised, not repeated the action, and renounced what she did matters.

> the NYT fired people for much, much less than the disgusting vitriol the woman posted for years

Then give those examples, they don't change the facts of this case.


They don't change the facts, I agree, but they reveal the hypocrisy and incoherence of their stance with respect to racism.

It's not hypocritical to do different things in different situations. You keep stating this, but you still can't show me what they got wrong in this case.

Their stance is Jeong used to imitate the language of her harassers, has since learned that was wrong, and has apologised. We should all be seeking rehabilitation, not retribution, and although I personally don't think her tweets were particularly objectionable, her remorse should earn her a second chance.

Being a liberal (the philosophy) is equivalent to being neutral and objective according to all the mainstream media, which are all liberals.

Is being neutral reporting on facts or is it reporting a viewpoint at the middle of the two parties? Those are two very different things.

As someone from the UK, a country that is pretty far to the right of most of Europe, and yet still far to the left of the US, the idea that these publications are biased to the left is, frankly, laughable.


A good read on this is (at least to me as an outsider to American politics):

https://www.vox.com/2016/4/21/11451378/smug-american-liberal...


I'm afraid I stopped reading that 1/3rd of the way through after 50 paragraphs just repeating "liberals [American democrats, they mean] are smug" in slightly different ways without really delving into detail. (disclaimer: I'm European)
tim333 7 days ago [flagged]

>presenting themselves as the last bastion of objectivity in the trump era... Nothing could be further from the truth

They seem fairly objective to me. Can you suggest any other news sources that are more objective? Re Sarah Jeong - ok they have a columnist who dislikes Trump but that's hardly a very rare viewpoint in the US these days.


>. Can you suggest any other news sources that are more objective?

WSJ, FT, BBC, Politico

>Re Sarah Jeong - ok they have a columnist who dislikes Trump but that's hardly a very rare viewpoint in the US these days.

Hating white people is not the same thing as disliking Trump. Criticizing Trump is okay, being racist is not.


Jeong's tweets were very, very obviously jokes. To suggest it's evidence of "hating white people" is just parroting manufactured outrage.

In any case. WSJ isn't more objective that NYT. It's just further to the right, which is why it appears objective to someone on the right.


>Jeong's tweets were very, very obviously jokes.

No, they were not. Maybe replacing 'white' with other races will help you to gain some perspective: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DjnUykIUUAAifwH.jpg:large


Have you written somewhere about why you believe that context is not a relevant aspect of communication?

(That is, putting the tweets into a different context doesn't demonstrate anything about what was meant when they were twote.)


>Sarah Jeong - ok they have a columnist who dislikes Trump

Wait what? She's an avowed racist with a 5 year trail of comments to prove it, she doesn't merely "dislike" Trump. The fact that NY Times actively sought her and threw their support behind her is despicable. I cancelled my digital subscription because of that alone.


[flagged]


Would you be so kind to point me the error of my ways?

https://twitter.com/sarahjeong/status/1025049961472253957

Not the statement an "avowed racist" makes.


That's exactly what every racist's apology looks like, including Roseanne Barr. Also the above is utter bullshit. She posted a link to one tweet where she was responding to someone disregarding hundreds upon hundreds of racists tweets that weren't direct responses to anyone. You realize this was going on for about 5 years?

I refer you back to the initial reply.

Or has Jeong started ramblin' about the Ambien?

https://www.fastcompany.com/40578985/the-spectacular-emptine...


After all, the NYT did leak the existence of the Doomsday Machine to the Soviets. It's why I don't subscribe.

Um, "leak" the existence of a doomsday machine? Isn't the whole point of a doomsday machine that the other side knows you have one?
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