Why We Will Pay for the Digital NY Times

Posts on As Our Parent Age sometimes recommend or feature links to New York Times articles. For complicated topics, articles from the Times as well as other newspapers may provide background or additional information, adding texture to a post (as do other newspaper stories).

It’s been many years since we’ve had a paper edition of the New York Times delivered to our house. However, we are always reading the paper. I bet we check the digital editions every few hours during the day. During crises in the world, we may even check it late at night or first thing in the morning. Like many people who have gone digital, we view the newspaper on our computers, Blackberry, iPhone, and recently using our iPad. Moreover, for much of the past 15 years, give or take the few times when the paper has tried to tweak its access in one way or another, we’ve had free access.

The New York Times, and a fair number of the other newspapers and news organizations, provide exceptional coverage of the world near and far. Unfortunately, in our “something-for-nothing world” we have somehow convinced ourselves that everything should be cheaper, if not free.

Well, things aren’t free. The food supply can’t be protected without inspectors. The military cannot protect the country without certain types of funding. And covering the news costs money. Information may be free, but getting the information and turning it into well-written news articles is costly.

In my life I use quite a few online news organizations and magazines. The Washington Post delivers a paper edition to my driveway each morning so I have free digital access. The other newspapers, I read occasionally and usually digitally, an article here, an article there. If those other papers came up with similar subscription options, providing access to a set number of articles each month it would work just fine. If on occasion I needed one or two more than the limit, I could just visit my wonderful public library. The Times, however, I want close at hand whenever I need it. I don’t want to be schlepping around Twitter or Google or whatever, searching for the day’s news.

What really made us decide to purchase the New York Times digital versions? Our coffee and tea drinks.

We enjoy Starbucks and other coffee places, and we have some great ones close by in our neighborhood. They are big, spacious, feature wireless, and have lots of people working on their laptops and iPads. If you visit any of them on a semi-regular basis, the staff and at least a few of the regulars are familiar. It doesn’t take long to notice how many have the New York Times open on their laptops or smartphones.

Some of us who buy these coffees and teas, think nothing of purchasing a three or four-dollar drink. Fewer and fewer people seem to order the standard cup of coffee or — in fact even Dunkin’ Donuts and, I have heard, McDonald’s now sell these drinks. Our decision turned out to be easy.

If we each purchase and savor espresso or chai or cappuccino six or seven times a month, once some weeks and twice others, it only takes a few purchases to equal a month’s worth of the New York Times. We can each cut out two or three drinks, beverages that we enjoy for half-an-hour versus the same money going toward 24-7 news access — it seems like a no-brainer.

In reality, we probably won’t decrease our stops at coffee bars, but high quality and easy news access is worth so much more than a couple of lattes or chais.

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