Brokelyn poll: Is New York Times home delivery worth $608.40 a year?

Times HQ, photo by Joe Shlabotnik.
Times HQ, photo by Joe Shlabotnik.

UPDATE: This afternoon, The Times announced that it is cutting 100 newsroom jobs, or 8 percent of the total.

You subscribed because daily delivery of The New York Times is practically a civic duty in New York, like voting or recycling. Maybe you actually read it every day. Or maybe you don’t. And you watch those blue-sleeved carcasses pile up on the dining room table like chicken that spoiled in the fridge before anyone managed to cook it. You feel guilty for the tree/bird that died in vain, but also for spending the dough so pointlessly on something you wound up tossing. Instead of a snobbish pleasure, The Times becomes yet another thing you didn’t do.

But you can’t quit, because New York is a media town, and subscribing to a certain number of newspapers and magazines is like driving a Ford in Detroit.

Since you can get the whole printed Times (and more) online, that $608.40 you spend every year for the paper ($11.70 a week for 52 weeks) is more like a famine-relief donation than anything. You could buy a cow for a Rwandan family, say, or pay a rookie journalist’s salary for a week. But maybe that’s the reason you shouldn’t subscribe—because that rookie is better off going into just about any other career besides journalism, including Rwandan dairy farming.

Of course, the alternative to home delivery is buying it single copies from the newsstand, which means we mostly wind up reading it online instead, except maybe on Sundays. And so New York Times home delivery becomes the first topic in our new occasional feature, the Worth It or Not poll. Are we as news consumers honor-bound to pay our share to keep the ink flowing—or is it time to click here and close the tab? Vote here and find out what your fellow Brokelynites say.


  1. Chris E.

    Whether it’s worth it depends in part on how you look at it. I’m attached to having a hard copy, plus I read it on the train, so for those reasons it’s worth it regardless. But the bigger question is whether what the paper provides is worth paying for. I’m chump enough to feel like paying to support it even if I don’t have to. Most people won’t, though, which is the obvious problem with a business model that involves giving them the option.

  2. Anonymous J

    Giving up daily print versions seems like the right thing to do since it reduces the stress on our resources and pocketbooks. It’s hard to replace a comfortable institution with better technology, but this has been happening for a long time and usually leads to a better overall society.

  3. Aardvark

    Web access can’t substitute for one benefit of home delivery: The Times’ blue bags are ideal for handling dog poop.

    Of course, the weekend edition is a better fit if your pooch weighs over 35 lbs or has a high-fiber diet.

    Sadly though, the Times provides only one bag a day!

  4. I only get the weekend paper, but even if I don’t read it I feel like it’s kind of a charitable donation to something I value (along the lines of a donation to NPR). I know it may sound silly, but that’s how I view it.

    If I had a long commute I’d subscribe to the daily print edition, but I’m barely on the subway for 15 mins so it doesn’t make any sense.

  5. Gene B.

    The problem starts when one thinks that it is your “civic duty” to read the Times. That is the result of simple indoctrination after years hearing things like “according to the New York Times.” It is for many gospel what appears in that paper, never questioned and always accepted as true fact. Well, those of us who didn’t grow up on that fodder can keep our objectivity and accept the paper like it is any other, and with the same sized grains of salt.

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