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Why the NYT Should Go NPR

There’s a lot of harrumphing around the blogosphere about the New York Times‘ decision to again put up paywalls for digital access (the last attempt, TimesSelect, was shuttered in 2007). People are gaming out the angles: Have they chosen the right price points at as much as $20 a month? Why the different prices for the iPad app vs. website access vs. print subscriptions? But the whole approach is wrong-headed. With its large, affluent, reasonably liberal and guilt-ridden audience, the Times would have more monetary success and more brand success with an NPR-like pay-what-you-will membership model with free events, tote bags, and other goodies thrown in. Membership dues are a significant source of revenue for NPR–43% of the budget in 2009. Why does it make sense to charge only 15% of “power users,” as the Times says this new subscription model will? Readers of all stripes feel good about associating with the Times–just look at how often the phrase “Sunday Times” shows up in personal ads. The paper should build up this goodwill rather than make us feel bilked, or have to puzzle over the merits of various pricing models as though we were shopping for cable packages. A bit of NPR-style customization wouldn’t hurt either. These days, like millions of younger people, I get my public-radio fix mainly on-demand or through podcasts. I get a special glow by supporting the specific shows that I like–and they make it really easy with text-based fundraising. I would gladly pay $ to be delivered a digital or paper version of the Times that has extra book reviews and skips the automotive section, and I’d love to contribute specifically to the investigative and world news sections. The Times should call NPR CEO Vivian Schiller. She’d have a lot of great advice for them–in her last job, she worked for on TimesSelect. Read the original article at Fast Company.
diyu Anya Kamenetz is the author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.

Columbia, Brown, and 15 More Universities Join Coursera’s Free Online Platform

Coursera, the platform for “massively open online courses” founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford, announced today that it has doubled its number of university partners. The new roster includes several global institutions. Since its debut earlier this year, 1.3 million people have signed up for a free six- to ten-week Coursera class, […] Read More..

Artisanal U.: The Radical Potential of College Without the Classroom

From GOOD magazine. Published December 2, 2011. Joyce Alcantara grew up in Rhode Island with her mom, three sisters, two nieces, and a cousin. Her dad, incarcerated in Florida, isn’t really a part of her life. Alcantara had trouble with classes her senior year in high school and almost dropped out; her saving grace was […] Read More..

Why College Is Not A Bubble (Except For The University Of Phoenix)

The college-is-a-bubble meme just keeps growing. Student-loan debt surpassed credit-card debt for the first time in history last year. Tuition is rising at three times the rate of inflation, and there are growing concerns about the quality of education offered at even our nation’s fanciest schools. Meanwhile, prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel is paying young […] Read More..

Top Ways to Save Money at College

College tuition at public universities is up 24 percent in just the last five years. With graduation right around the corner, many high school seniors and their families are wondering how they can save on one of the biggest expenses they’ll face. Assuming you’ve already made your choice of colleges, here are some top ways […] Read More..

Obama’s Lessons for Leadership in A Time of Change

The President’s speech to the nation last night was primarily billed as his chance to plead his case to the nation for the ongoing military intervention in Libya. But slipped into his remarks was a primer on 21st century leadership in a time of change, a topic Life in Beta is particularly interested in. Here […] Read More..