The Fix Is a Website About Addiction; Happy New York Times Paywall Day!
First of all, if you click on this, you will have wasted one of your 20 monthly free New York Times articles on something about white male bloggers. That's because in addition to a new website about addiction from Radar founder Maer Roshan, which went up with little-to-no build-up, today is also the premiere day for the Times paywall, which we've been talking about forever and ever. In a "To Our Readers" message atop the homepage, the Times explains that the "plan for digital subscriptions to NYTimes.com and mobile apps begins today. Read a letter from Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. explaining the details." There's a link to subscription options and Frequently Asked Questions, but we also have some more tips, tricks and deals not previously mentioned in our mountains of coverage. And if you're still not convinced after that, Times executive editor Bill Keller wrote another column about how good the New York Times is in the paper's Sunday magazine. No joke: It is a really good newspaper! Proceed with Press Clips, our daily media round-up.
Mainlining: First, the free website. Maer Roshan's Radar folded for a third and final time in October 2008, and since he's spent about 30 months away from both the Internet and the newsroom. (No one tell him what they did to his website.) He's back today with TheFix.com, "addiction and recovery, straight up."
"I think we're definitely at this perfect moment when the subject of addiction and recovery has really entered the culture," he told Women's Wear Daily, citing Bill Clegg's book, Christian Bale in The Fighter and an Eminem album, among other successful media about drugs and addiction.
The blog will run on about $500,000 in funding, which has already gone toward "Narconon's Big Con," about rehabs based in Scientology, the journalistic goldmine of a "religion" and old favorite whipping boy of Radar. Charlie Sheen is listed as one the site's "Hot Topics," as are "Alcoholic Monkeys." Most importantly, Courtney Love will contribute, both with words (she will have an editor, we presume) and on video. Video!
Pay For Play: We've already rounded up details about the Times paywall, over and over again, it feels, but now that it's really here, they're going to help us poor readers out. A four-week trial subscription is just $.99, that way they already have your credit card information and when it comes time for the paper to make the big bucks, you might be lazy enough to click the approve button.
1) Use a different browser.
2) Clear your cache.
... whichever is most convenient for you. Tada!
And because the 20-per-month limit restarts on the first day of every month, we'll all be back at zero by Friday. Read up!
Letter From the Editor: Bill Keller's column in the Sunday magazine has been so far much derided, you could say. He's in something of a sparring match with Arianna Huffington and her team of bloggers, a fight he continued quietly yesterday in another ill-advised entry in the "Editor's Pulpit," which he promises he doesn't "intend this occasional essay to become." BUT WHILE WE'RE HERE:
My little realm, the newsroom, consists of about 1,100 people. Every one of them has opinions about a lot of things. But just as doctors and lawyers, teachers and military officers, judges and the police are expected to set aside their own politics in the performance of their duties, so are our employees. This does not mean -- as one writer recently scoffed -- that we "poll people at both extremes of any issue, then paint a line down the middle and point to it as reality." It does not mean according equal weight to every point of view, no matter how far-fetched. (Sorry, birthers, but President Obama is an American citizen.) Impartiality is, for us, not just a matter of pretending to be neutral; it is a healthful, intellectual discipline. Once you proclaim an opinion, you may feel an urge to defend it, and that creates a temptation to overlook inconvenient facts when you should be searching them out.
Except, the "one writer" that Keller quotes in the above, bold section used to work for him! And now he, Peter Goodman, that is, works for Arianna Huffington. (In rap music they call that sort of slight, which Keller pulled, simply a "subliminal.") Speaking to the Times watchdog blog NYTPicker, Goodman takes issue with Keller's characterization of his words:
I greatly respect Bill and I still love the Times, and I'm not sure why he construed my sentence as a "scoff." I don't get why he apparently took it as being about the Times, when I was speaking much more generally about a troubling default mode in contemporary journalism. I was simply saying that I think it's crucial that journalists report impartially, insofar as we start our inquiry without being beholden to any particular interest, but equally that we then write it as we see it, without fretting over how readers will see us. I was in particular criticizing the tendency in many publications to insert mentions of bogus contentions as a means of inoculating themselves against claims that they are staking out a clear position. That doesn't help readers decide anything for themselves. It's phony centrism masquerading as impartiality. At the HuffPost, I don't allow my reporters to start out trying to buttress an ideological position, but if the reporting winds up going there, I see no value in muddying it up with dubious pseudo-facts aimed at creating a false sense of balance.
Maybe next week Mr. Keller should write about his trip to India. Like, the food or something.
Meow: The Cheezburger network has acquired Know Your Meme in a low seven-figure deal. Cats will hereby, online, be referred to as cat$.