Even though news may, for better or worse, want to be free on the web, that doesn't mean that charging for online news is always wrong. Jarvis dismissed TimesSelect as "a cynical act doomed from the start." More likely, it was a wise business decision that made the Times, and its shareholders, more money than they would have earned without the paywall. Gentzcow's paper will serve as a profitable read for any manager struggling with setting strategy for an online operation that cannibalizes a traditional business line. What it underscores is that setting prices should be a rational act, not an ideological or sentimental one.
Here's the problem: the study and Carr both assume that my choices are limited to paying for TimesSelect or not getting the information. This ignores reality - there are more news sources available to me than I can shake a stick at. Much of what was behind the paywall was op/ed pieces; there's certainly no shortage of opinions available for free on the net. The problem with Carr's theory is that he assumes that I can't substitute for the stuff behind a paywall. I think the editors at the Times learned something over the last couple of years that Carr still hasn't figured out: it was all too easy to find substitutes for their supposed superstars.