Commentary

Publishers Suspend Paywalls For Public Good Amid Coronavirus Scare

  • by March 13, 2020
Publishers are putting the public good over profits by suspending their paywalls for stories about the coronavirus pandemic. It's a commendable effort to help people find more reliable information about the deadly virus amid the bombardment of falsehoods, including those from some government leaders looking to score political points.

The New York Times created a freely accessible page with the latest updates about the coronavirus outbreak. It is also publishing an email newsletter titled  "The Coronavirus Briefing"  to highlight news and expert advice.

The Wall Street Journal created  a page with live updates and today begins streaming a daily video series that viewers can see without paying for a subscription. The newspaper also is highlighting coronavirus news on its home page.

The Los Angeles Times has an open landing page with critical updates about the threat, though there's a metered paywall to see complete stories.

The Atlantic is gathering its coverage on a page that includes a mix of how-to advice like "The Dos and Don'ts of 'Social Distancing," as the term for avoiding close contact with others is now known.

It's heartening to see news publishers looking out for the well-being of their readers; many have been ordered to work from home or may need to babysit their kids as schools suspend classes.

Not to sound too cynical, but the goodwill they engender among readers may help to drive their future subscription efforts as the health crisis fades.

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