10 Reasons Why the New York Times Is Worth the Dough

For quality journalism, 35 bucks a month is chump change.

Yesterday the New York Times announced that it will cut back the number of articles it allows nonsubscribers to read free, from 20 a month to 10. After 10 reads, the site will prompt the reader to sign up for a subscription.

I know what you’re thinking. There will be ways to sneak around, under and over the NYT wall.

Right you are, Sherlock.

Follow a link from Facebook or Twitter and you’ll get to a story even if you’re over the limit. You can make your way to stories through Google Search too.

But snatching over-the-limit freebies are going to grow increasingly challenging—and, really, is it worth the time you’re putting in to beat the system?

There are different subscription plans, but why mess around? For $35 a month, you get unlimited digital access and all kinds of apps. Don’t think that’s a deal? Look at your cable bill lately?

The NYT can’t replace keeping up with local news coverage. But there are reasons aplenty why the NYT should become a daily read.

Below, a subjective 10:

1. International coverage. Metro newspapers scrapped foreign bureaus years ago, making the NYT’s coverage critical. A moment ago I checked the home page and found breaking news (with pictures) from Toulouse, France of the standoff with the alleged Al Qaeda terrorist suspected of killing three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school. On the same page there was analysis of the Syria situation. The takeaway: Assad could hold onto power for months, even years.

2. Presidential politics. The NYT makes the race entertaining. Besides big picture analysis, reporters drill down to find the weird and quirky—like Secret Service code names for the candidates (Romney: Javelin) and how much hoop action Obama watches and with who.

3. David Carr. Writes the media column on Mondays. Topics are nearly always deeply reported and with a point of view too. He still totes his anti-authority alt-newspaper roots.

4. Nicholas Kristof. Reminds us that our conscience is calling. The atrocities in Africa go on. Human trafficking is taking place under our noses. We going to let this happen? What are we going to do about it?

5. Bill Carter. TV coverage may not be the first thing you look for in the NYT, but no one covers the high finance world of the late night talk shows with more authority. He can also deliver news about The Walking Dead.

6. Maureen Dowd. Even when you agree, you want to give her noogies. Being clever is her forte, and she’s all over that zeitgeist deal. You’ve got to read her.

7. The Obits. Recently I read about this guy Jay McMullen. Had been an investigative journalist for CBS News. Posed as a prospective drug trafficker in Mexico, lived in a Chicago tenement to shine a light on poverty and recorded Boston cops in a betting parlor disguised as a key store. Had never heard of him. He died at 90. The obits are a living history lesson.

8. Dwight Garner. Not just a great book critic, but among the best writing stylists working today. From a recent piece on electronic books: “I still prefer to consume sentences the old-fashioned and nongreen way, on the pulped carcasses of trees that have had their throats slit. I can imagine my tweener kids, in a few years, beginning to picket me for my murderous habits: ‘No (tree) blood for (narrative) oil.’”

9. The Film Reviews. You can take the New Yorker and Roger Ebert. I’ll take the NYT, no matter the critic. The consistency never fails.

10. The Surprise Features. They always delight—whether it’s Bissinger writing about the troubles at our city’s newspapers, or (like yesterday), the unlikely comeback of 49-year-old Jamie Moyer.