Why I'm Canceling My Subscription
By Denny Hatch
To: Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., Publisher, The New York Times
Dear Mr. Sulzberger: After 50 years of reading The New York Times, I am—with great regret—canceling my subscription. I can no longer justify spending $600 a year.
I also subscribe to the print edition of The Wall Street Journal and pay an extra $20 for the online edition to take advantage of the magnificent archive service. I'm about to cancel my WSJ print edition and become a pure online subscriber for $60.
For 10 days in February I was at the World Curling Championships in Bismarck, ND, where no New York Times was to be had. Every day for a half hour via AOL, I visited the Web sites for Drudge, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian. I got my fill of news—and for free.
Frankly, I love The New York Times. But I rip through it in about 10 minutes a day. Only 3 percent or less of the content interests me. I concur with Rush Limbaugh's dictum that "Trees are a crop to be harvested slowly," but my recycling bin runneth over.
I'm a walking guilt complex about canceling my subscription and because your wonderful home delivery service is staffed by people who are faithfully at my door every day at 4 a.m. I believe strongly in supporting those who work that hard at those gawdawful hours. But let's face it, newsprint is not an efficient method of distributing information. And, alas, the advertising model on the Internet is not working. On Feb. 19, 1998, the online magazine Slate announced that beginning March 9 it would start charging $19.95 to its 25,000 subscribers; the advertising model was simply not paying the bills.