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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

The video 'letter to the Editor'

Here's some history.

The New York Times had posted its first ever video Letter to the Editor.

The damning ten-minute letter responds to an op-ed penned by Paul Bremer III — former Iraq Viceroy — entitled "How I Didn't Dismantle Iraq's Army".

It's classy stuff but that's because it comes from filmmaker Charles Ferguson, and uses footage from his film, No End In Sight.

Said NYT Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal:
"It is an amazing use of the Internet. This is what the Internet is all about."
I think the entry barrier's quite high by that standard! (not what the internet's all about) but it's very significant in breaking from text for one thing and adding immeasurably to the power of the Letter to the Editor. There's a discernible editorial choice in allowing the ten-minute long answer to Bremner to be the history maker and to be done in such a powerful way.

Also noticeable that the NYT doesn't have the vid-letter behind it's pay-wall - TimesSelect - as it's dropped the whole pay concept in its entirety; another significant event, headlined as Paid Newspaper Sites To Become Obsolete. This complete switch in strategy includes the archive.
Why is TimesSelect ending?
Since we launched TimesSelect in 2005, the online landscape has altered significantly. Readers increasingly find news through search, as well as through social networks, blogs, and other online sources. In light of this shift, we believe offering unfettered access to New York Times reporting and analysis best serves the interest of our readers, our brand, and the long-term vitality of our journalism.

We encourage everyone to read our news and opinion - as well as share it, link to it and comment on it. Our highest priority is to increase the reach and impact of our journalism online. The Times's Op-Ed and news columns are now available free of charge, along with Times File and News Tracker. In addition, The New York Times online Archive is now free back to 1987 for all of our readers.

All great. All sensible. Now I (and others) can catch up on Maureen Dowd's great columns.

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