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Times selects for Tom Cruise

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The New York Times TimesSelect service has proven — to the bookkeepers at 42nd Street, at least — that charging for Maureen Dowd and Thomas Friedman makes sense, and money. And for New York Times home delivery subscribers, the ability to access the archives has actually been a net gain.

But maybe the best part of the NY Times' embrace of the walled garden approach (the one that AOL never quite got), and the Interweb, has been the more interactive nature of some of the editorial pieces of the newspaper. And in the Times' redesign, they even put some of those cool features right up at the top of the home page, helpfully.

(The LA Times has some of this stuff — but not to the same extreme. Although some have found their RSS feed to be better than others.)

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But the NY Times' belated bearhug of the digital world has finally proven its worth to Los Angeles — and industry — subscribers today, when the @Times weekly email popped up in inboxes.

The email newsletter — which includes all sorts of goodies about the most emailed stories and most read columns — noted that one story was read, and forwarded, more than any other this week:

Sharon Waxman's waxing of MI:3 and Tom Cruise.

Now, lots of non-movie people dig Hollywood box office numbers, but the insidery nature of the MI:3 review, and the total steamroller it sent towards Mr. Scientology, means that at least some of those email forwards must have been coming from Burbank.

There's even a super-cool podcast about some of the stuff, too.