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New Journalism Clubs Are "Members Only"

Step right up. You too can be ripped off by the New York Times' latest moneymaking gimmick: online courses from Nicholas Kristof, Gail Collins and Eric Asimov.

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As a Guardian spokeswoman  said, “It makes sense for the business and for our readers to both harness and reward that loyalty. Our recently launched subscription scheme is one way of doing so and another idea under consideration is a Guardian offering based around the concept of a ‘friends’ scheme or members’ club.”

Although certain aspects of these Members Only club plans have been trotted out in the past — it was less than two years ago that the NYT stopped offering its TimesSelect premium online service, which charged for access to blogs and columnists – Times GM/President Heekin-Canedy told the  Telegraph that times (pun intended?) have changed:

“The climate seems to have changed. There seems to be more of a willingness to pay. We charged roughly $50 a year for Times Select and we had about 200,000 paying subscribers. The reason we discontinued Times Select is that we came to the conclusion that search engine optimisation had changed and it would give us the ability to generate more advertising revenue if we did not charge for content.”

What’s next in the endless quest for newspaper revenue enhancement –  wine clubs? Oops — there I go again! Well, maybe you can just take  Times wine columnist Eric Asimov’s  NYT Gold course instead. After all, $125 will buy your way in to the single session – although the price of the booze isn’t included! Didn’t these jokers learn anything in journalism school?

Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor is the author of " Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio " (AlterNet Books, 2008). O'Connor also writes the Media Is A Plural blog.

 
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