A ‘Community’ of one: The Times gets tailored

SCHOLARS of mass media long ago established the theory that part of a society’s bond comes from the shared experience of consuming the same news. We shape our worldview, our opinions — however different they are from one another — after reading about and watching many of the same things. We gain a sense of community, however false or fleeting.

Even as social media and algorithms started changing all that, there remained media giants like The New York Times that gave millions of readers around the world a unified news experience.

Or at least that’s how it used to be. By midyear, The Times will begin an ambitious new effort to customize the delivery of news online by adjusting a reader’s experience to accommodate individual interests. What readers see when they come to The Times will depend on factors like the specific subjects they are most interested in, where they live or how frequently they come to the site.

Tim Dingersen