Arianna Mocks NY Times, Sulzberger in April Fool Offer

Huffington Post offers “digital subscriptions to employees of the New York Times”

Last Updated: April 1, 2011 @ 4:47 PM

Arianna Huffington, still smarting from Bill Keller's unprovoked attack a few weeks back, used April Fool’s Day to take a swipe at the New York Times and its new online paywall, offering Times employees "digital subscriptions" to the Huffington Post.

Huffington (at left with Keller) made the offer in a blog post that mimicked publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.’s letter to Times readers.

“Today marks a significant transition for The Huffington Post Media Group, as we introduce digital subscriptions for employees of The New York Times,” she wrote. “It's an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Huffington Post, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world — and especially to our readers inside The New York Times.

“The change comes in two stages. Last week, we rolled out digital subscriptions to our readers in Winnipeg, Canada, which enabled us to fine-tune the customer experience. Plus, they're Canadians, eh? Today, we will begin offering digital subscriptions to employees of The New York Times.

“If you don't live in Winnipeg or are not an employee of The New York Times, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion, and the rest of our rich offerings.”

Huffington said Times employees would be allowed to read the first six letters of each article (“including slideshows of adorable kittens”) at no charge, after which they’ll be asked to become a HuffPo subscriber.

Well executed, and mildly funny, though a better April’s Fools prank would’ve been to rig her site to actually start charging employees with a New York Times IP address.

Huffington concluded with a slightly more serious tone: “And, of course, stories that aggregate falsehoods to support an administration's efforts to take the country into a disastrous, decade-long war based on lies will always remain free.

"Thank you for reading The Huffington Post, in all its forms.”


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