The goal of the New York Times is very simple: to give the public access to as much news as possible, with a variety of voices and perspectives presenting the information. When the New York Times was first founded in 1851 it presented its information in a very formal way with limited bias. However, to increase the amount of money they bring in annually, they have developed different subscription plans to offer to consumers, which has been great for heavy users of the New York Times. However, it has put people who don’t use this newspaper often in a tough position because it has significantly limited the number of articles and information to which they have access. Therefore, these people may either feel forced to buy a subscription or find a different newspaper to read. The New York Times has worked on providing the best experience possible to these subscribers by creating an algorithm that provides these people with articles the company’s system believes they would be interested in.
The subscription plan offered by the New York Times offers two different options: a “Basic Subscription” as well as an “All Access Subscription”. The basic subscription allows consumers to read all articles published on the website as well as giving consumers priority access to different products. The All-Access Subscription gives consumers the option to view unlimited articles along with having the opportunity to view different sections such as cooking, gaming, and sections. This subscription method for the New York Times has been beneficial for them as a company generating $555.7 million this past year. This also comes after gaining 180,000 subscriptions in the past year. Nevertheless, many people who are users of the New York Times do not have subscriptions and have far less access to the amount of information provided by them. This presents a potential downside of the subscription model because users who can find the information for free elsewhere will not purchase a subscription, which may make it harder for The New York Times to acquire new customers.
Another way the New York Times regulates what its readers can see is by having an algorithm in place. This algorithm is based on past articles read by users, and from here additional, similar articles are recommended. These recommendations are based on multiple factors including what author the user likes to read, and what topics the user has read in the past. The algorithm also recommends what users of similar interests have also consumed. The reason the New York Times does this is to try to increase user enjoyment. This limits what users are exposed to and keeps them in the same general areas of the website. For the New York Times to keep track of the articles that a user reads they must have an account. For many users, having a personalized account may be an incentive to buy a subscription as it will greatly enhance their experience. Something that is common is when users have a free account the website will recommend an article that they can only access if they have a subscription. Although this may not work all the time, it could incentivize users to pay for a subscription, benefiting the New York Times and encouraging them to keep doing this.
Lastly, The New York Times limits itself on the writers it can hire and the consumers it can collect because its content is often biased. Specifically, The New York Times is known for having a left-leaning bias. Consequently, all the writers they hire are more likely to share a bias that is in line with the company’s overall beliefs. When the writers follow a certain agenda, they could potentially leave out critical information that is relevant to the truth of a story.
As a result, readers will be drawn to take on the perspective of the writer, taking on a biased opinion, and becoming oblivious to the important information that is not included. Having this established left-leaning bias gives them a general base audience that they can expand upon. Certain authors are more biased than others, and the algorithm in place will lead users to articles with authors that share similar biases. If a user does happen to disagree with what the author says and they personally attack the author this will result in a suspension from the service, as is outlined in the Terms and Service of the New York Times, so the environment on the website tends to stay relatively mild.
Overall, different methods of regulation are noticeable within the New York Times which, for the most part, benefit the company. These include the revenue generated from subscription services and the personalization that is produced by the algorithm. One method of regulation with unclear consequences is the bias that The New York Times has created for itself. Because it is still unknown whether this bias is beneficial or detrimental, it is important The New York Times is careful about the implications of the biased nature of its content. It is possible that the negative consequences of a one-sided service may call for The New York Times to take a more neutral stance in its content, but that is still to be seen.
Robertson, Katie. “New York Times Reports A Gain of 180,000 Subsciptions.” Nytimes.com, 3 Aug. 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/03/business/media/new-york-times-quarterly-earnings.html#:~:text=Digital%20subscriptions%20accounted%20for%20%24238.7,in%20February%20for%20%24550%20million.
“Terms of Service.” Nytimes.com, 20 July 2022, https://help.nytimes.com/hc/en-us/articles/115014893428.
“Personalization.” Nytimes.com, https://help.nytimes.com/hc/en-us/articles/360003965994-Personalization#:~:text=Often%2C%20our%20algorithms%20note%20common,users%20with%20similar%20reading%20histories.
“The New York Times.” Britannica.com, https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-New-York-Times.