Next year, the New York Times will begin charging frequent users of its website. A certain number of stories every month will be free. After that, there will be a charge.
I don't want to pay for something I'm used to getting for free. But the alternative is even less appealing: further erosion of the quality of news-gathering.
Some years ago, when we first started to see warning signs for the newspaper industry, I wasn't too worried. People will always need information gatherers, so the market will always support information gatherers. But I wasn't thinking about the quality question.
There's big money out there for bloggers and pundits who riff off news stories gathered by AP and major newspapers. Because it's more cost effective to talk about the news without gathering it, the pool of news gatherers could shrink even further -- so far that quality and reliability could fall to unacceptable levels.
So sign me up, New York Times. I'm ready to pay.