For the past six years or so, I have been a daily reader of the NY Times.
Every day, I've gone to the corner newspaper guy or local bodega thrown my dollar down, picked up the day's Times and went about my day, invariably becoming just a little more knowledgeable about the world in which I live during my morning and evening commute.
The Times is great because all of their articles go just that much further than any other daily publication. If you read a news story in the USA Today, The NY Post, The Bergen Record or most other papers, you read about what happened. In The NY Times, however, you learn about what happened, who was involved, their backgrounds and why said story took place, usually with some kind of analysis. In one of my first blog entries on my former site, I expressed indignance at the childish stories in the USA Today.
I chided my roommate Dave for reading AM New York, mocked Lavishing Lewd and Nude Rick Mckay's perusing of the NY Post ('only good for Page Six', I laughed, while pointing out Page Six isn't even on page six) and needled my girlfriend, Ioana, for learning about the world from The Metro.
In return, I have been called obnoxious, smug and a newspaper snob - admittedly somewhat deservedly so. It's not that I thought others unworthy of The Gray Lady, but I wondered, 'why read a tabloid when you can read the Paper of Record?'
Today, I am disappointed in The New York Times.
I blog here today a bit less smug. My high horse is no longer a noble steed.
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger has quietly hit his readers with a doubly whammy.
- First, he raised the price for the second time in a relatively short period of time. Two weeks ago it was a dollar and, one day, it was a buck twenty five. Two things are irritating about this. First, it was seventy five cents a few years ago and this is a second increase - on top of that it was twenty five percent! I realize it's only a quarter but what business just increases twice twenty five percent? I mean, cars, houses, bubblegum, Gatorade and postage stamps don't just increase twenty five percent from one day to the next. When asked to comment on the price jump, Ms. Stephanie Tanner of San Francisco California had this to say: Repeating herself seems to be a habit for her, Stephanie 'Two Times', as some call her walked off saying that she was 'going to go read the papers, read the papers''.
- Secondly, which is really just an addendum to the first bullet point here is that $1.25 is just less convenient thatn $1. I often just walked in the bodega, walked to the front of the line, placed my dollar bill on the counter and left, not even breaking stride except to turn around to walk out the door. Now, the process is just a little less fluid. You either have to make sure you have a quarter or - gasp - get change made. This means, at best, having to wait for change or, even worse, wait on line to get change made. Perhaps you are puzzled at these seemingly miniscule inconveniences but it disrupts the rhythm of a morning commute.
- Thirdly, and this is the big one, is that the paper shrunk. The Times shaved an inch and a half of their paper today. The content is reportedly the same, but the page is thinner. I bought it today and I didn't like it, the experience has changed. It used to be you got it, snapped it open with a crisp 'thwack', folded it twice, and off you went into whatever story you happened to be reading. Today, I bought the smaller version and the 'thwack' was more of a 'clink'. It just felt different. Holding it, it just felt less important.
Asked about her feelings about the new New York Times, a Florinian woman - who declined to give her name - expressed this blogger's feelings to The Gray Lady herself: