The New York Times is considering making the readers of its online edition pay subscription fees. While the report does say there are no immediate plans to implement this, it will still be a blow to the 18.5 readers who regularly troop to the site to browse for free, although their archives can only be accessed if you pay for it. The move is also said to be influenced by other newspapers and sites who charge for reading online content, most notably the Wall Street Journal.
The end of the free web might be around the corner, and I have no beef about earning some dough from their online presence, but what bothers me is this comment N.Y. Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. who was quoted in the article as saying: "It gets to the issue of how comfortable are we training a generation of readers to get quality information for free. That is troubling."
People pride exclusivity and in certain instances like club dues and movie tickets in can be justified, but what if the exclusion marginalizes a whole lot of people who might otherwise benefit from a leveled playing field. It's the same beef I have with piracy and education. If you can't pay for it, there's no way of getting out of the dark hellhole you're in.