New York Times

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New York Times for iPad: Legitimate heir to the Newspaper?

NYTimes 2.0 for iPad

From paper to pixels: The Times and other media have yet to find an economically sustainable replacement for their paper-based products.

The Internet has shaken up the status quo for many incumbent economic leaders – and newspapers have seen this effect more so than any other industry. Since the Web hit the American household in the 1990s, print media has been experimenting with strategies for digital distribution and revenue streams, with few conclusive results after well over a decade. The Web has moved the audience’s attention from monolithic news outlets controlled by publishers in favor of social links (Facebook and Twitter) and aggregators (The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast and Drudge Report.)

This year’s announcement of the iPad seemed to change the publishing industry’s outlook on doing business over the Web. Instead of the hyperlinked, non-linear, short-attention-span, copy/paste-friendly nature of a desktop Web browser, the iPad offers a publishing platform similar to their paper product – with an iPad app, the publisher has verticalized control of available content, its layout, navigation experience, and – most importantly – revenue generation methods.

On October 15, the Times released “NYTimes for iPad,” (iTunes Link) labeling it “free until early 2011.” In testing it, I’ve decided it’s an excellent application in its own right, and could potentially be a great sign for the future of print journalism, but it could be yet another business fumble if the company doesn’t execute the proper balance between advertising, consumer pricing and usability.

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Reigious Crackdown in Russia

Today’s New York Times has a saddening article about diminishing religious freedoms in Russia. While the constitution provides for freedom of religion, the Russian Orthodox Church has overwhelming power over Vladimir Putin’s government, which it is quietly using to persecute and eliminate other religious denominations, calling them “sects” in the derogatory.

Some protestants get random visits from the F.S.B. (think post-Soviet K.G.B.) and can no longer rent spaces of their own or express their beliefs in public- many have moved into hiding, meeting in private homes.

There are definitely much worse places in the world as far as freedom of religion is concerned – Turkey and China especially come to mind. But it’s disappointing to see a country take a step backwards when it comes to freedom. I hate to think of what life for followers of non-Christian faiths must be like in Russia.

Any religion can fall into the self-righteous trap of believing it is the only true one and all others are false, making this decision by faith alone. But even then, this does not give that group a free pass to do wrong to those with other beliefs. As Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

I surely hope that I will never make the mistake that the Russian government and Orthodox Church has made.