The New York Times online edition garners much of its content from the print version of the day, but is also updated if they find something new "that's fit to print." In addition, you get the high-quality coverage that's made the Times the paper of record. The placement of stories also reflects the commitment to serious journalism that the paper has maintained over the years. Items that would be of most interest to the intended audience, (political issues, international affairs, financial matters) are all laid out on the Homepage with a minimum of fuss. The content isn't drowned out by the Webiness of some of the other major news sites. (Ahem,
The Boston Globe, perhaps?)
A few disadvantages to note, the most prominent being that accessing many of the site's features requires membership. While it's free, simple and quick to register, it does give the website a certain air of snotiness which might turn some potential viewers off.
Of course, there are some rewards for those who do become members. An extensive archive, the past week's Book Review section, (with many of the reviewed books' first chapters available online) and The New York Times Learning Network rank at the top of the list.
There are a good variety of stories posted, with "related articles" you can read if something catches your interest. Their Front Page Plus lets you see the stories that didn't make it onto the front page of the print version, but which might have if there had been more space. And for the sake of comparison, they have breaking Reuters and AP headlines.
New York Today, a catch-all guide for the web-savvy Manhattanite trying to decide what to do with their day off, also adds to the site. You can find a movie playing at a theater near you, pick out the trendiest restaurants and make reservations online, and bid on the perfect outfit to go with it all.
All in all, though, The New York Times Online is a fine compliment to the print version, available 24 hours a day, with today's headlines even downloadable to your PDA. For registered members, of course. -Sarah Koenig