Writing for TimesSelect

It's a quite wonderful experience. Like speaking in a very large and empty desert; or giving a book-reading to a couple of stray passers-by. Bruce Bartlett reminisces on his month of complete obscurity in an email:

"I just completed a month as a 'guest columnist' for the New York Times. In reality, this meant that I wrote a blog for a month. Someone new will take over for me next week. It was an interesting experience for several reasons: No one knows that the Times has a blog because it is only available for TimesSelect subscribers.  Moreover, very few people even at the Times know that this feature exists. Just today I spoke with a New York Times reporter who knew nothing about it.

The Times clearly has no feel for the nature of blogging. Everything I wrote was, in effect, an op-ed article that went through the same editorial process as something that would appear in the print edition. All comments are also edited.  Thus the immediacy and back-and-forth between bloggers and commentators is largely lost. And because of the subscription wall problem, it was impossible for outside bloggers to link to what I wrote. A couple simply reprinted almost all of a couple of my posts so that people could see what I was saying.

Not surprisingly, almost all the comments came from the left. The experience reinforced my observation that hardly any conservatives ever read the Times.  Why newspaper with national circulation would seemingly cut itself off from at least 40 percent of the population has long been a mystery to me as a simple business matter. It is also a mystery to me why the Times chose a business model that is the opposite of the Wall Street Journal’s, when the Journal is the only paper to make money from its Internet edition. The Journal charges for its news and gives away its opinion. The Times still gives away its news and charges only for its opinion."