The Dawn of Paperless Newspapers?

Slate’s Jack Shafer explains that he’s canceling his subscription to the New York Times:

I’m canceling because the redesign of your Web site, which you unveiled yesterday, bests the print edition by such a margin I’ve decided to pocket the annual $621.40 I currently spend on home delivery.

Oh, that’s not to say that I find the Web version superior in every regard. For one thing, if I give up the print Times I’ll have to find other morning bathroom reading. I’ll miss dividing the paper into its respective sections, hoarding the best sections and distributing the leavings to my family. I’ll also long for the big J&R ads that run on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. But seeing as I already read huge chunks of your newspaper online, sometimes with the print version in my lap, I might as well go all the way. Online better fits the way I live and work. Your spiffy new design is the tipping point I’ve been waiting for, and I’m convinced it will ease my transition to a paperless newspaper.

I should note that I did the same with the Washington Post nearly two years ago for the same reason, even with an inferior Web layout. I still subscribe to the Sunday edition, which never comes out of its cellophane wrapper unless I need it as wastepaper, because the coupons and sales circulars (which, conveniently, arrive in separate packing on Saturdays) literally saves me more money than I pay for the subscription. Indeed, I routinely turn down solicitations from the paper to get the other six days’ worth absolutely free since the trouble collecting it and chucking it in the recycle bin outweighs the handful of times a year when having a print copy might be handy.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    OK… we’ve got the medium thing worked out.

    Now… about the CONTENT….