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Last month, The New York Times announced cutbacks, buyouts and possible layoffs, proving that even it isn’t immune to the collapse of journalism as we know it. Most shocking was the reader outcry after executive editor Bill Keller broke the news. “There is a solution to layoffs – start charging for on-line content, I’d pay…seriously. Why not?” posted one reader. Another wrote: “I want to pay for my online use of The New York Times…Figure it out now! I have my credit card ready.”

While not all of the nearly 600 comments were as encouraging, there was a flurry of remarks from Times fans insisting on paying for online material. And why shouldn’t they? Quality content shouldn’t be free. Let’s hopeTimes execs are paying attention, because they’ve been flirting with the idea of re-erecting a pay wall.

Apparently, Canadian readers are less generous. Audiences praised The Globe and Mail when the paper removed its pay wall last year. According to communities editor Mathew Ingram’s blog, one wrote: “Thank God you finally saw the light.” So if readers are ready, cash in hand, what is the Times waiting for? If it can charge for online content then perhaps Canadian papers could too, even though Katie Hewitt doesn’t think so.

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About the author

Erica Lenti was the Spring 2015 editor of the RRJ.

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