Opinion | The Real Reason the Times Has Quit Using the Term ‘Op-Ed’

The diplomatic reason for the renaming is that the Times wants to avoid a repetition of the internal and external uprising that began in June 2020 with the publication of a Op-Ed by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who advocates military invasion of US cities. The effects of the piece forced Kingsbury’s predecessor to step down. James Bennetand her rise. In the previous one Times The newspaper’s news and opinion editors have put great care and effort into building and maintaining a fence that separates “news” from “opinions”. However, this did not prevent readers from confusing the two journalistic genres and contributing opinions to the newspaper itself. In the new arrangement, the editors seem to be hoping that the “Guest Essay” label will provide a more stable fence for the Times between “us” and “them” and give the paper a greater denial when it publishes something as controversial as the piece of “cotton”. Will Kingsbury ever assign such cotton-like pieces? Probably not. In her announcement, she writes: “We have our thumbs in the name of progress, fairness and mutual humanity on our scale.” Progress, fairness and mutual humanity are not the first words you would associate with Cotton.

The digital reason for renaming the Op-Ed page comes in a box prompt after the third paragraph of Kingsbury’s announcement asking readers to subscribe to it Times“Opinion Today” newsletter. Every digital publisher from POLITICO to New York Times to substack to Forbes to the small alt-week used newsletters as a way to build a paying audience online. The commercial potential of a Times Opinion newsletter is real, like Adam Piore argued in one piece for that Columbia Journalism Review last year. “Opinion produced less than 10 percent of the Times’s total output, but opinion submissions made up 20 percent of all stories read by subscribers – which meant attitudes were way above their weight,” Piore wrote.

By conforming to the opinion within the definition of the “guest article” and providing the newsletter as a pure opinion product for subscribers, the paper hopes to increase subscription sales as it does Cook and Games Apps. Digiday reported in the first six months of last year that the Times Raised $ 25.1 million from its standalone subscription products, including cooking, games, and audio. That was an increase of $ 15.7 million last year.

Consult internally Times Studies like January 2017 “Journalism that stands out from the restReport or listen Times Executives speak, and you’ll hear the constant hint that paper is now a company that puts digital first and subscriber first first. “We’re not trying to win an arms race with page views,” the 2017 report reads. “We believe that the more informed business strategy for the Times aims to make journalism so powerful that millions of people around the world are willing to pay for it. “By separating the Opinion Section from its old op-ed berths and renaming it as a subscriber-only digital product, it will be brought into flow with the paper’s other successful digital products. “If you get back to the habitual reader idea, opinion columnists are exactly the kind of writers who attract repeat visits and encourage habitual behavior,” said one former Times Editor and VP for Product and Technology tells the story CJRIs Piore.

It would be a mistake to think about the newsletterification of the Times In response to recent successes, places like Substack have reaped and others hope so replicate. No Johnny got in shape lately, the newspaper has pushed newsletters so hard and for so long that they are now more than published 71 of them, according to a recent Digiday story, and has now reached about 28 million Subscribers. In 2020, readers opened more than 3.6 billion Times Newsletter emails. The strategy here is to use the newsletters to sell subscriptions to new readers. Of Times7.5 million subscribers, 6.69 million are entirely digital, but the newspaper hopes to increase that number ten fold. “With a billion people reading digital news and an expectation of 100 million willing to pay for it in English, it’s not hard to imagine that over time the TimesThe subscriber base could be much larger than it is today, ”said Meredith Kopit Levien, President and CEO of the New York Times Company told a Times Reporter in February.

Today’s piece of the New York Times can be read as the company’s recent arrival in its print form as it continues its digital metamorphosis. Oh, you will still be able to read opinion articles in the paper, but the real story isn’t about that Times from Op-Ed to guest essay, but from Op-Ed to ultradigital.


My email address groans with the weight of newsletters. Do not send any more to [email protected]. My Email notifications are a kind of newsletter. My Twitter Boycott podcasts (do you remember them?). My RSS Feed gets newsletters a couple of hooey.

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