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Published:August 1st, 2011 10:45 EST
News Should Be Free!  New York Times Online Edition Not Free! Shame!

News Should Be Free! New York Times Online Edition Not Free! Shame!

By Robert Paul Reyes

"A guest at the Hilton Garden Inn in Santa Rosa, Calif., filed a class-action lawsuit against the hotel over a 75-cent charge for a newspaper, officials say.

Rodney Harmon, 55, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. He alleges the hotel chain deceived him and is also hurting the environment.

`He did not request a newspaper and assumed it had been placed there by hotel staff,` his suit states. Harmon accused the Hilton of intentionally hiding the cost of the newspaper by using an `extremely small font, which is difficult to notice or read` on the sleeve of room cards." UPI 

Like a mint placed on a pillow, a newspaper placed outside a hotel room is presumed to be free. It`s an outrage for a hotel to deceive a guest into thinking the staff gave him the newspaper as a courtesy.

This incident brings up the larger issue of the death of the newspaper industry, and the 21st century principle that news should be free.

I would be annoyed if a hotel left a newspaper, free or otherwise, in my room. In the digital age once a newspaper is delivered to your front porch, the news it contains is already hopelessly updated.

I can read almost any newspaper in the world for free online, why should I pay for the privilege of reading the news. Everybody who believes in the idea that the news should be free should boycott the New York Times for selling subscriptions to the Internet edition of their newspaper. If you don`t subscribe to the online edition of the New York Times you can only read 20 articles per month for free.

The Hilton Garden Inn in Santa Rosa should apologize to Harmon and all of their guests. The hotel should make amends by placing a computer in each room so that  guests can read the news online for free.

Follow Robert Paul Reyes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/robertpaulreyes