This morning, Professor Farrar suggested to her class of Highest Monkeys that they check out a WSJ column that mentioned Yale students and journalism (Crovitz’s Before ‘Watergate’ Could be Google). I woke up to her e-mail and immediately clicked her link, only to find myself unable to access the article. It was behind the WSJ’s annoying and complicated paywall. Just a few weeks back, when the class met with Alan Murray, Deputy Managing Editor and Executive Editor Online of the WSJ, he explained that their paywall was set up on a case by case, or article by article basis. If they think people would be willing to pay for it, they put it behind a paywall. I for one am frustrated with the inconstancy and today, while trying to find this article elsewhere on the web and utterly failing, decided it was time I was going to subscribe to the WSJ.
A few things happened on my way to subscription. I at first just clicked the link at the bottom of the stub article, which gave me two options: print+digital for $4.99 a week, or just digital for $3.99. The print+digital component had a SAVE OVER 50% and a BEST OFFER! sticker that made it look almost a little tacky, but like a good deal. Either way, I decided to go with the Digital subscription because I knew I wouldn’t be reading the print version either way. I was just about ready to subscribe when I noticed they would charge me on a month by month basis. Since I’ll be moving back to Brazil at the end of May and will most likely be closing my American bank account, I decided I wouldn’t want to subscribe now only to have to cancel later and tried to do a one time payment thing. After much googling, WSJ told me that the only way to do a one time payment would be if I also got the print version for $4.99 instead of $3.99. Frustrated, I was ready to give up on the subscription and the Crovitz article.
And then…. I saw a tiny little button at the top of the page. It was actually so so tiny that I had to zoom in on my computer screen to be able to read it correctly. The button said: Students click here and ta-da! It was magical! The WSJ has a student price, a very well-hidden student offer, which allows you to subscribe to the WSJ for 75% off and pay $29.95 for fifteen weeks of the paper. This is in fact a pretty good offer. It gives students the print paper (which I admittedly don’t need or want, but there was no option), and digital and the mobile subscriptions for $29.95 when it would cost $75.00 for the same products at the first time subscriber saver option, their second cheapest offer. However, as I was getting ready to subscribe, something caught my eye on the corner of the screen:
Was the WSJ honestly telling me this? Was I really going to be smarter, improve my GPA and be 140% (is this even a true percentage?) more likely to start a full-time job upon graduation? For starters I thought the statistics were complete and utter bogus. How did they even measure this? Why couldn’t I click through to a survey or something to understand how they came up with these numbers? But even if the numbers turned out to be true, by some survey they conducted or another, has anyone ever talked to them about dependence and correlation? It could simply be that students who read the WSJ are more likely to want to work in finance and there is a higher hiring rate for these jobs. It could also be that WSJ subscribers are more likely to be Economics majors and there is a higher grading curve in these classes. My point is…. these were some bogus statistics and I was a little disturbed about how they were thrown at me as if they were factual.
Undeterred however, I subscribed. I thought the deal was too sweet to let go and I’m only a student for one more month, so I figured I needed to use it. I think a subscription to the WSJ is worth three Gourmet Heaven sandwiches right? I guess we’ll see.