times.gifI saw this morning on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that the New York Times, one of the world's leading newspapers, added a new feature to its website. As of this morning, people reading New York Times articles can share their favorite articles on the popular social media sites Newsvine , Digg , and Facebook.

The Seattle PI notes that this is the first time the New York Times has used any kind of sharing or discussion tools on its articles. However, sharing NYT articles is still made difficult by the fact that the paper requires free registration to access most articles on the site.  I have a feeling that most people that use Newsvine and Digg are not going to want to bother with this registration in order to share NYT articles.  In order for external bookmarking to be truly effective on the NYT site, the paper is going to have to get rid of registration.

This partnership has advantages for both the Times and the social media sites. For the Times, adding this bookmarking feature will help create online discussion around the paper's articles, bringing these articles to the forefront of online news. For the Digg and Newsvine, including New York Times articles will add credibility to their news and potentially increase traffic on the sites. This is especially important for Newsvine, because it is the smallest of the three sites included in the New York Times partnership.

Despite offering these sharing tools, the New York Times is not completely opening its site. The external bookmarking options will not be available on the TimesSelect articles, reporter blogs, or wire articles. Regardless, it is still a major step forward for the Times, and shows that the paper is open to creating a more Web 2.0-friendly online environment. It will be interesting to see how these bookmarking tools affect the way New York Times readers get their news. Will they ignore these bookmarking tools? Or will these tools attract new readers? It's hard to tell, but if this effort is successful, I'm sure we will see more papers adopting the social media bookmarking strategy.

For more info on newspaper websites and online strategies of newspapers, check out our study, The Use of the Internet by America's Newspapers