The Gray Lady has taken a long time to figure out it's place in the world of electronic journalism. She has decided to morph into a virtual Times that gets distributed through many channels. On an iPhone alone I have at least 6 ways to get her news. None of them is quite right for me.

 The New York Times is now the New York Times Cloud that comes down in many forms.

The New York Times is now the New York Times Cloud that comes down in many forms.

The Times is stuck on the concept of publishing everything at once. The idea of printing a daily newspaper is very much still with them. Their assumption seems to be the reader will check in maybe once or twice a day. The problem is events happen all the time and even the Times does not freeze the published edition. Stories are generated or updated frequently. 

As a reader, the Times ignores the two things I value: 1. What I want to know and 2. When I want to know it. 

Because I have a subscription to the New York Times I have a choice of ways to view it.

I don't want to have to go to their NYT Now app which seems to list stories by a concept of importance rather than time. So if I check in 3 or 4 times a day, the sequence is roughly the same and where new articles are added is a mystery. The same is true for the NYTimes website, their Newsstand offering, and how things are sequenced in Flipboard. This concept of organization makes sense for a physical paper which is printed only once a day and cannot mysteriously rearrange itself. It does not work in the digital world.

I want news to come to me where I want it at the time it is first reported. I would like it in my Twitter feed. The @nytimes feed comes close but has too much. @nytimes does deliver articles mostly as they happen and can be useful for breaking news. As a feed, it is stuffed with duplication of insignificant articles, articles I don't care about (how do I subtract sports? or home? or photography? or travel?...), and retweets of whatever strikes their fancy. @nytimes is a superset of what I want. The Times has several Twitter feeds. I wish they had one that was front page, as it happens news without repeats.

Part of the challenge is that I'm apparently an unusual Twitter follower. Apparently, I'm what is known as a completionist. I subscribe to about 170 feeds. Most of them only post when they have something to say. I read them all, in order using Tweetbot. Apparently most people dip in and out of their Twitter feed so repetition may not bother them. Many people on Twitter retweet items assuming repetition is fine. Feeds that do that get dropped by me.

I value the editorial judgment of the New York Times to tell me what is important. Breaking news about who won a tennis tournament is not on the list of things I want to know about.  They also retweet many articles - usually the ones I'm least interested in. This is especially true of feature articles I never want to read. 

It would be wonderful if there was a New York Times Twitter feed that just had new news. I'd follow that.

Meanwhile, I've dropped @nytimes from my feeds.

AuthorMichael Slade