Anyone who reads my posts about blogging technology knows I have had a pet peeve about the online news media’s narrow minded approach to ownership of digital property (i.e. their articles). My number one rantee was nytimes.com which places most of its articles in its Premium Archive after 7-14 days. This essentially renders any NYT links dead after that period (since no blog visitor is going to pay $2.95 per article for access).
Lo and behold, I’ve discovered that Dave Winer of Radio Userland and Aaron Swarz have partnered with the New York TImes to allow bloggers permanent free links to nytimes.com material. Radio Userland maintains a New York Times web based aggregator called New York Times–Latest Headlines, which provides access to NYT headlines. If you want to blog about a particlar article, clicking on the headline link takes you to the article’s URL on the nytimes.com site & provides you with the permanent link in the URL field. Alternatively, if you are already within the nytimes.com site visiting an article you’d like to blog about you use the New York Times Link Generator to convert the link into a Userland permanent link. You can bookmark this URL so that you merely have to click on it for the conversion process to be automatic.
Another terrific aspect of this feature is that you don’t have to be a Radio user to benefit. I’m a Typepad user and I use the Userland aggregator without hindrance.
If you don’t use the New York TImes in your blog this isn’t going to mean much for you. BUt for me, it’s meant that 50 or so blog links to NYT articles are now live and active instead of dead and inactive. That’s something to be glad about.
Nytimes.com deserves accolades for thinking clearly and forwardly enough about their digital assets to realize that it will help their business plan if they cooperate with bloggers rather than see them as part of the ordinary site customer mix. Winer, Userland and Swarz deserve credit for understanding the value that this partnership would provide to bloggers.
I really dislike the move to subscription services for newspapers. Even if it’s a free one, it makes linking to that article useless for my blog, as everyone following the link would have to sign up – which they won’t.
Most newspapers seem to want to follow the subscription route now, and the NYT is the only one I’ve heard of that offers such a neat link for bloggers.
So, if I want to comment on a topic, and want to add some interesting links to various on-line newspaper articles – how do I do it? Other than copy the page to a file and add to my web page, which is a waste of space – I think I just have to drop that newspaper. Too bad.