Educating Ezra Klein

A mostly political Weblog.
Aug. 7 2007 2:14 AM

Educating Ezra Klein

A left whippersnapper tutored by his readers about teachers' unions.

(Continued from Page 5)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

MEREDITH, N.H. (AP) - Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani on Monday accused Democrats of favoring a controlling "nanny government" as he continued his bashing of the rival party.

Hmm. What mayor was it again who installed those hectoring recordings in New York cabs that kept telling you to buckle your seat belt? I forget his name. I think it's the same guy who cracked down on jaywalkers and street peddlers. ... 2:42 A.M. link

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Tom Snyder, R.I.P.: When my book came out in the early 1990s, I went on a highly ... er, selective media tour that included a stop at the Cahuenga Pass studio of Tom Snyder's radio show. For whatever reasons--Snyder understood what I was trying to do with the book, or he drew easily on his life experiences, or he was a warm personality or just a good questioner--it was the best interview I did. After a disastrous stillborn conversation with All Things Considered, it was heartening to know I could get on someone 's wavelength. Even if Snyder was faking it--especially if he was faking it--I'm grateful. But he didn't seem to be. ... 2:34  P.M.

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Doing Pinch's Job**: Emailer X has an idea for replacing the hated TimesSelect paywall while making Pinch Sulzberger's New York Times some extra money. X notes--as have many others-- that with TimesSelect Sulzberger is perversely giving away the paper's unique, expensive-to-create product (timely, authoritative reporting) while attempting to charge for its easily-imitated product (opinion). Instead, X says,

[H]ere is a proposal for The New York Times (and all other publications that have invested heavily in news gathering): charge for early access to your stories. I'm sitting here before bed on the West Coast, as I do most nights, reading tomorrow's paper and looking to get an early jump on the news. And I'm quite taken with the lead story about FBI Director Mueller's contradiction of Attorney General Gonazalez's Senate testimony. In fact, I might even pay for the privilege of doing so. Imagine if, instead of posting the full stories for all web users, before 6 a.m. Eastern (and 3 a.m. Pacific) -- though the best specific times are debatable -- only a stub like the one that now appears for non-TimesSelect members who click a link to an Op-Ed column appeared for non-members who browsed to stories that would appear in the next day's papers. The Times could become more aggressive about posting stories to the web as soon as they were ready the night they're closed -- but only fully viewable to those who paid a fee to be a member of this reverse form of TimesSelect.

... There are all sorts of people--not least, public relations executives, members of the media, bloggers who like to link to big news as soon as they can--who would probably see fit to fork over more than what TimesSelect now charges to get a few hours' jump on the next day's news. [E.A.]

Seems promising to me. If, as has been argued, TimesSelect is not really about creating a new revenue stream but rather about hanging on to high-paying print subscribers by offering them special Web access--well, print subscribers could get the early access for free with their subscriptions, just as they now get TimesSelect. .... The only problem I see is that Times reporters might see the service as offering competitors a chance to read their stories and match them before those stories are available to the general Web public. But the gist of Times reporters scoops will still be available instantly to all in short, "stub" form.  NYT reporters will still get credit within the profession, the scoops will (presumably) still get mentioned on Drudge and discussed in blogs-- and everyone will be able to read them soon enough. ... If the paper really wants to surprise the competition it could hold any huge scoops until the actual, printed paper comes out--or just put them outside the "early access" pay wall in selected instances. ...

TODAY IN SLATE

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