Is micropayment what the ailing news industry needs? Will it save New York Times? Like Clay Shirky, I have my doubts about micropayments, particularly from usability perspective. Micropayment UI can get as bad as Vista UAC, endless parade of buy this and buy that.
What I think the news industry should do is follow the example of cable TV industry. Bundle contents by type into channels then charge per channel or channel combo deals like 10 free news channel + choice of 10 premium news channels + 100 article of choice from other channels for $5 per month. For $10, 30 premium plus 500 articles of choice. To add an extra channel for a month, an extra $1.
Regardless of details, the core idea is to transition to finer-grained subscription model, selling sections instead of the whole newspaper, bothering the user only once per month and when the fuel tank (a-la-carte article budget) gets empty to ask whether refill for a fee or add a channel.