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So apparently 2010 will be the year of publishing large magazine articles online before the print edition is released. Because if The New York Times Magazine does it, it’s cool, right?

On Friday the Times published a story titled “Inside Obama’s War on Terrorism” on its website, two weeks before the print edition will be released. Deputy magazine editor Megan Liberman was quoted saying “the ‘urgency had set in’ to publish sooner” and implied that the web-first tactic is creeping up on the Times fast.

I don’t in any way believe that the Times is the first magazine to do such a thing. News outlets want as many hits on their websites as possible. Somehow it brings in money, but more often awareness is quite acceptable.

Peter Baker’s piece clocks in at 8,800 words. Do people actually read articles that long online? I sure don’t. My grandma eyes make me want to read even websites in print.

The main issue here is that if a news outlet like the Times finds this tactic successful against its subscriber rates, then what’s stopping it from doing it again? How early will news leak now? And who’s going to be playing follow the leader?

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About the author

Jessica Lewis was the Visuals Editor for the Spring 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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