Adding to the disillusionment is the growing recognition of the part that free access to the Web has played in the hemorrhaging of circulation. "When we look at why people quit buying the newspaper, it's overwhelmingly because 'I can get it for free online,'" William Dean Singleton, the CEO of MediaNews Group, the nation's fourth-largest newspaper company, recently said. Whenever the Times's Bill Keller and other top editors speak in public, they invariably encounter readers who, expressing amazement at being able to read the paper online for free, plead for ways to donate to it.
It's also worth noting that you can often get it better online - or at least in a more timely fashion. Case in point: the recent ACORN business, which the NYT was certainly not on top of. And who are these people amazed that they can read the paper online for free? When exactly did they discover this? Maybe they should read something else online. They might change their minds about donating to the Times.