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Dec. 4, 2008, 3:14 p.m.

One last Times Extra thought

While I like seeing the NYT link out, on reflection, I wonder if the first draft is a bit of a misfire — at least from a reader perspective.

What Times Extra provides is additional context and coverage on the issues the Times is already covering. Today’s front page features aggregated links on the potential auto-industry bailout, the Canadian political crisis, and the Mumbai attacks. To be honest, as a news consumer, I’m probably pretty happy with what The New York Times is producing on its own on those topics — they’re the kind of big stories that the Times covers the hell out of and very well.

But the links I really want are the stories the Times isn’t covering well. I want a link to the great Washington Post profile of some obscure Congressional staffer; the Esquire piece on an injured soldier readjusting to the homefront; the CNN hidden-camera investigation into workplace-safety violations. I want to be pointed to great stuff done by other people — not stuff that the Times is probably doing better.

From a business point of view, perhaps the NYT sees their current strategy as one that protects their business model more; it’s unlikely anyone would find a news source through Times Extra that might supplant the NYT in his mind. But selfishly, I wish they were giving me a window on what the Times isn’t offering.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email ( or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Dec. 4, 2008, 3:14 p.m.
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