The New York Times on Monday published a list of its best stories from the last four years.
The New York Times has published a list of its best stories from the last four years.

The New York Times on Monday lifted its paywall for some of the paper's best journalism published during the last four years, part of a larger celebration marking the Times' recent 1 million digital subscriber milestone.

The articles, op-eds and videos were selected by masthead editors and represent a tribute to the work enabled and sustained by digital subscribers, said Clifford Levy, an assistant masthead editor at The New York Times. The list runs 50 items and spans the breadth of the Times' work, including foreign correspondence, opinion writing, cultural reporting and investigative journalism.

"We want our subscribers to know that this is some of the journalism that they supported," Levy said. "We could not have done this without our subscribers. It's an amazing list."

The list, which is introduced by a note from Executive Editor Dean Baquet, will be available for several weeks. During that period, Times editors will solicit feedback from readers to determine how the paper's journalism has affected them. Those comments will be used to anchor a second package, published on Oct. 5, that celebrates the subscriber program.

Here are some highlights from the list:

By making the list free for everyone, the Times hopes to generate reactions from a wide swath of Times readers — not just subscribers, Levy said.

"We're asking for readers to ask us how these stories affected them, influenced them, impacted them, and — even more broadly — we're asking readers to tell us what the Times means to them and what role the Times plays in their lives," Levy said.

The digital subscriber program has been a bright spot for The Times, which has battled declines in print advertising along with the rest of the newspaper industry. Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of The New York Times, recently called the 1 million milestone "a big deal" but noted that the program's success does not assure the paper's financial future by itself. In August, The Times reported a 13 percent year-to-year drop in print revenue, a number that was offset by digital gains.