Four years ago I read an article that was one of the most well-researched, well-written pieces of journalism I had ever encountered. It was about bananas. Before that, I couldn’t name one difference between a manzano and a plantain. What could make a coarse cur like me care about cavendishes? The city’s famous martini-soaked weekly, The New Yorker. If you’re like me, though, you can’t just drop $70 on a subscription. But we’re in luck: according to The New York Times, The New Yorker is giving free online access to all of their content from 2007 to the present for three months beginning July 21.
The genteel magazine is facing the reality that most kids (ahem) our age don’t have the dexterity to turn pages any more (what with all that button pushing we do). So they’re revamping their website with some newfangled technology called a “word press.” The three months of free content is an effort to introduce everyone to the new setup and lure more readers who shun printed material. After the three months are up, a new pay wall, whose details are not yet hashed out, goes into effect.
Will this shift to online change the soul of the magazine? Maybe, but I’m glad it’s happening. The New Yorker is one of the last bastions of deeply-researched, relevant long-form journalism, which is disappearing all across the web. To let something like that fade away would be… bananas.