Economics Really Is Alive and Well

Through the wonder of social media, I found some friends arguing about the NYT’s recent decision to kill off one of its columns. Specifically, one called the “gun report.” I had actually never heard of it, but apparently after the Newtown incident, every week (day?) the NYT would collect stories about gun violence in America to make a greater point.

But now they’re killing it off, and some people were upset by it. I note that this article, and the comments of people reading it, don’t really paint the other side of the story. They reiterate that this assistant was working more than she was getting paid for – which I don’t deny – and that the NYT should pay her more to do this work. However, if the Times, a struggling behemoth of a largely bygone era chooses to kill off this section, than it must have an idea. Surely, if the section were bringing in tons of readership (or $$) then they wouldn’t have dismissed it so summarily. It can’t be as successful as the editor of it claimed it was, or as the people commenting on it want it to be.

Now maybe there’s a separate argument to be made that the Times has some sort of ethical duty to maintain this sort of coverage, but I think that goes against the idea of editorial freedom altogether. Just because it’s an idea that you support individually, doesn’t make it something they must maintain, because surely you wouldn’t feel similarly if they published a “Guns Right” weekly column. The paper should be free to run whatever content it wants, and if its readership can’t support a certain column, then so be it.