The New York Times, published in New York City since 1851, is the largest metropolitan newspaper in the United States. The online edition of the Times, at www.nytimes.com, was launched in 1996. The online version includes not only the same articles, features, and images that appear in the print edition, but an array of additional still image, video, audio, and data content.
The Times has long been an important source of reporting, information and opinion, covering politics, finance, health, science, culture, the arts, sports, and fashion in the U.S. and abroad, with special emphasis on the New York metropolitan area. The paper has been referred to as “The Gray Lady,” because of the traditional format and appearance it has retained and its iconic role. Wikipedia1 notes that the Times “stayed with the eight-column format for several years after most papers switched to six, and was one of the last newspapers to adopt color photography.” But in recent years the online version of the Times has pioneered the use of multimedia content as supplements or main features of reporting, utilizing extensive color photography, live databases, animated information graphics, audio, and video.
As of September 2013 The Times's publisher was considering various strategies to increase interest and sales, according to The New Republic.2 These include: increasing international circulation; and expanding international coverage and creating specialized resources such as an India blog. An International New York Times was created to replace the former International Herald Tribune. In 2012 The Times introduced a Chinese-language news site, cn.nytimes.com, with reporting by staff based in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. The content and coverage of events in the international and Chinese editions differ slightly from content on nytimes.com. Both sites are accessible through nytimes.com.
A 2013 article described new niche subscription products targeted for release in 2014, as part of a "Paywalls 2.0" initiative. At that time specialized digital subscription content was under development in three areas: "Food and Dining"; "Need to Know", a smartphone application for advance news release and web aggregation; and "Opinion" content.3 In March 2014 the Times produced "Innovation," an internal document analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, and potential opportunities for optimizing digital strategies. That document was leaked in May 2014; an insightful summary with additional comments appeared in the Nieman Journalism Lab.4
In the Appendix to this review, "New York Times and New York Times Digital: Comparing Content Across Platforms," Dorothy Carner compares 2013 Times subscription data and trends in the level of online access with that of other major digital news media.
In general www.nytimes.com is the most comprehensive existing aggregation of information and content created and published by The New York Times. The site includes all articles, features, interviews, obituaries, columns, and still image, audio, video, and data, text and multimedia published on the nytimes.com site since the site's launch in 1996, with the exception of crosswords and some syndicated materials. As of October 2014, the Times reports that the complete archive of The New York Times from its beginning in 1851 can also be searched from NYTimes.com — more than 13 million articles total. Pre-1981 material is largely from digitally scanned microfilm of the print edition, along with "highly error prone text that was acquired through optical character recognition." From this period, the Times reports that there are "headlines and lede paragraphs for most articles longer than a paragraph or two." (Note that the academic site license limits each user's access to archival content from the period covering 1923-1980 to 5 articles for the life of a user's "academic pass," or 100 articles per month for users whose libraries subscribe under the Group Subscription model, i.e., Option 1. See "Retrospective Content and Archiving, below.)
Nytimes.com content is also enriched by inclusion of longitudinal data from syndicates and data sources such as Thomson Reuters and AccuWeather. For example, interactive charts enable users to view the status and changes in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and other financial indexes in detail for daily, weekly and in some cases hourly periods between January 1930 and the present day.
Retrospective Content and Archiving
The online archive of nytimes.com includes both the articles and the multimedia content that has, since 1996, accompanied them. Material from more recent years also includes Times blogs, such as the business blog DealBook. The online archive also incorporates the text of articles published in the print edition as early as the 1850s. As of July 2013, the Times reported that the 1851 through 1980 portion of the archive includes 46,595 issues that span 2,456,075 printed pages and contain 11,298,320 articles. An article in the Atlantic (August 2014) noted the powerful indexing available to search the archival content (known as TimesMachine), which integrates the in-house subject indexing and article cross references published since 1913 asThe New York Times Index.
Under the academic site license, access to content from 1923 through 1980 is currently limited because of technical constraints and contractual arrangements for electronic distribution; as of August, 2014, online subscribers can access up to 5 articles per day from 1923-1980 for the life of their "academic pass," or 100 articles per month for users whose libraries subscribe under the Group Subscription model (Option 1). (There is a per-article charge beyond this). The entire content of the print edition from this period is also available through ProQuest Historical Newspapers as page images with searchable text. (See below.)
The online archive portion of the nytimes.com site includes most materials produced for the online edition by staff and freelance reporters and photographers. It does not include certain syndicated articles supplied by providers such as the Associated Press and other wire services, or materials provided by “ad servers.” After the New York Times Co. vs. Tasini Supreme Court ruling (2001), the Times retrospectively redacted from its online archive materials by free-lance and contract contributors, for which it had no clear electronic distribution rights. (Since Tasini, the Times has revised contributor agreements to permit re-use of content in all forms of publication.)
Some nytimes.com content also has been captured by the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, but Wayback Machine coverage prior to 2012 is limited, and most dynamically generated and multimedia nytimes.com content is not captured at all. (See analysis of retrospective coverage of TheTimes in CRL's review of the Wayback Machine.)
Other Sources for Online Access to New York Times Content (as of November 2013)
While the entire scope of nytimes.com content is only available in the online edition, several commercially available databases do include article and feature text-only content, and page-image content from the print edition of the New York Times. In the Appendix to this review, "New York Times and New York Times Digital: Comparing Content Across Platforms," Dorothy Carner compares content available at the nytimes.com site with the contents of various aggregator databases.
Other sources (as reported in the University of Washington Library Guide)5
- ProQuest Newsstand Provides searchable access to the text of Times articles and abstracts of same from June 1, 1980 to the present.
- LexisNexis Academic Provides searchable access to the text of Times articles from June 1, 1980 to the present. No photographs or multimedia content.
- Factiva For quick browsing of text-only content of the current day’s edition and those of the previous two weeks. No photographs or multimedia content.
- ProQuest Historical Newspapers For scanned, searchable page-images of the Times published edition from 1851-2007.
- ProQuest Digital Microfilm For scanned page-images (browsable but not searchable) from 2008-2011.
Selected text content from the Times can also be found in databases from EBSCO, Gale (Academic OneFile), and Dialog Newsroom (from ProQuest).