The New York Times announced yesterday that it would offer a new subscription-based service on its Web site, charging users an annual fee to read its Op-Ed and news columnists, as the newspaper seeks ways to capitalize on the site's popularity.THE NYT WITHDRAWS FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE: "The great gift that the New York Times gives the world is free access to its articles, opinion-journalists, and stories. In September, that will no longer be the case. They are putting up a $50 toll-booth to 'the work of Op-Ed columnists and some of the best known voices from the news side of The Times and The International Herald Tribune (IHT).' They'll be charging for the privilege of reading MoDo and Krugman and Brooks. I can understand the economics of this, as newspaper circulation declines. But I wonder if, in the long run, this is a wise move on their part. By sectioning off their op-ed columnists and best writers, they are cutting them off from the life-blood of today's political debate: the free blogosphere. Inevitably, fewer people will link to them; fewer will read them; their influence will wane faster than it has already. The blog is already becoming a rival to the dated op-ed column format as a means of communicating opinion journalism. My bet is that the NYT's retrogressive move will only fasten the decline of op-ed columnists' influence."