The article written by Jennifer Saba describes the marketing strategies of the New York Times. It is stated that in the near future this organization will charge for full online access to the articles (Saba, unpaged). This article can be related to several sociological aspects: in particular, we need to speak about the so-called digital divide and cultural diffusion of information (Murray, Linden, & Kendall, p 377, 72).
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The paper aims to show how these concepts can throw a new light on the topic of the article. Additionally, it is necessary to explain the benefits of applying sociological concepts to these topics; namely, we need to show how the concepts of digital divide and cultural diffusion can explain the new tendencies in the evolution of mass media and Internet.
For a very long time, Internet has been viewed as a tool that can provide equal opportunities to people, irrespective of their income level, nationality, race, gender, and so forth. Furthermore, Internet is often referred to as the technology which is able to more connected and most importantly less hostile to one another.
Nonetheless, the evidence presented in this article indicates that social inequality permeates Internet as well. At this point, we should discuss such concept as digital divide. On the whole, this notion can be interpreted as inability of a certain group of people to have access to information (Murray, Linden, & Kendall, p 377). It can be also defined as the gap in access online information (Compaine, 25).
This difference can be observed both between and within countries. It is also possible to say that digital divide is directly proportionate to the degree of economic and social inequality in the country or in a certain geographic region. Therefore, successful implementation of the New York Times marketing strategy can impact a great number of people in Canada, the United States, and all over the world. The commercialization of Internet will significantly widen knowledge divide and diminish the opportunities of many people.
As a rule, this concept is usually used when we are speaking about technologies but in this case it is more applicable to information, itself. The decision, taken by the management of the New York Times, can lead to significant implications for online. Provided that this strategy will prove successful, many other newspapers will also require payment for the access to their websites, and in the near future it will be even more difficult for low-income population to find valuable information on the Web.
Certainly, the New York Time has only launched the new marketing campaign and it may be soon abolished. One should take into consideration that in the future the New York Times already tried to implement such business model but it did not succeed (Saba, unpaged). Still, this attempt suggests that high quality information may eventually become less and less available to low-income people.
Overall, by applying the concept of digital divide, one can better understand the development of the World Wide Web and mass media, in general. Certainly, this is just a hypothesis which still has to be substantiated; yet, it does not seem highly improbable especially in the light of the decision taken by the New York Times.
In the previous section we have mentioned the so-called cultural diffusion. It can be understood as the transmission of social practices, ideas, and cultural items from society to another (Murray, Linden, & Kendall, p 72). The Internet has made the world more connected and open to cultural differences.
To some extent, the websites of such newspapers as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Edmonton Journal can be regarded as the agents of cultural diffusion. For many people, especially those, who live in developing countries, these websites are the windows into a different culture.
Apart from that, some people living in advanced countries may be unwilling to pay for monthly subscription. If different newspapers follow the example of the New York Time, the process of cultural diffusion will become significantly slower. These are the changes that people may expect. Of course, it is not likely that every newspaper will emulate this strategy but this possibility should not be overlooked.
Overall, the application of these sociological concepts is a very fruitful exercise that can give deep insights into the future trends in the development of Internet. Such approach is more beneficial than the so-called “taken for granted understanding” since it enables the scholars to take a wider look at a certain problem. The application of sociological concepts is beneficial to that extent that it allows us a separate decision can impact the community.
The article, written by Jennifer Saba, focuses only on the decisions of only one newspaper, the New York Times. However, it may have profound effects on the overall accessibility of online information and cultural diffusion. At the moment, we may be witnessing the process of commercialization of Internet and the new business model of the New York Times exemplifies this process.
Compaine. Benjamin. The digital divide: facing a crisis or creating a myth? Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001, Print.
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Murray Jane. Linden Rick & Kendall Diana. Sociology in our time (Fifth Canadian Edition). Toronto: Nelson Education. Print.
Saba Jennifer. “New York Times rolls out pay model in Canada”. Toronto Sun, 2011, March 20. Available at: https://torontosun.com/