On Monday, the New York Times' paywall went live, preventing readers from reading more than 20 articles a month. There are some unusual quarks to this paywall though, such as visitors who click through a Twitter link bypass the paywall. Now, I'm all for the Newspaper industry trying to make money, but this is such a silly way to do it... So I decided to demonstrate how easy it is to "tunnel under" the paywall.
My original idea was to create a Twitter account (@TunnelUnderWall) and stream every New York Times article through Twitter but I found out someone already did this, so I figured I'd turn this into a "How To Build Your Own Free New York Times Newsfeed" post and show how to make personalized ones just for you.
Head to the New York Times website and scroll all the way to the bottom. Click on the "RSS" link.
Handily, the New York Times has separated all of their sections into separate RSS feeds. Interested in Asian Politics and Technology? You can make a custom feed for just that. More interested in Fashion, Health, and Religion? Got you covered.
Next, you're going to make use of Yahoo! Pipes. This is a service that reads in RSS feeds (RSS isn't dead, it's just sleeping), lets you hack them to pieces, then export it as a new feed. Don't get intimidated by Yahoo! Pipes, it's not as complicated as it looks.
Open up a new tab and sign up for a Yahoo! Pipes account (you'll need a Yahoo account). On the left, open up "Sources" and drag a "Fetch Feed" box into the gridded area.
Switch over to the RSS page of the New York Times you opened up earlier. At this point, we need to choose the categories of news we want. Make sure you right click and copy the target URL, if you actually go to the page it redirects you somewhere else.
Switch back to Yahoo! Pipes and paste that URL into the Fetch Feed. Go back and forth between until you have all your categories pasted over. You'll end up with something that looks like this:
Okay, before you look at the next picture... Don't panic. It's not as bad as it looks. This is what's next:
Haven't panicked yet? Good. This is what we're going to do:
- In Yahoo! Pipes, on the left menu go to "Operators." You'll want to drag out a "Sort," "Filter" and "Unique" operator box onto your workgrid.
- Go to "Date" on the left menu and pull out a "Date Builder."
- Fill in the information as seen in the above example, replacing the date given with today's date.
- Connect the blue and grey dots as shown in above example. Placement of the squares doesn't matter, as long as they're connected correctly.
Congrats! The hard part is over! Save the pipe, then hit "Run pipe."
There shouldn't be any errors if you copied the correct URLs into Fetch Feed. If there aren't any errors, hit "Publish feed," "Get RSS" and then copy the URL.
We're done with Yahoo! Pipes, and ready to move onto our next service: TwitterFeed. Sign up for an account, and put in the RSS feed Yahoo! Pipes gave you. Go to "Advanced Settings" and switch to "5 updates" at a time and make sure it updates every 30 minutes.
Open a new tab, and start a new Twitter account. You can use any username - this is a personalized feed for you. If you'd like, you can set it to publish privately so only you have access to it.
Switch back to Twitterfeed and connect to your Twitter account.
And you should be done! Give the Twitter account a half an hour or so and it will start updating. Follow the Twitter account you created on Twitter, or just reference it whenever you want to read an article.
Have fun tunneling under the New York Times' paywall!
Thanks to my Doppelganger, Zachary Cohen, for the inspiration.