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March 16, 2020

The Atlantic, NY Among News Sources Lower Paywalls During Pandemic


Adweek:Publishers from The Atlantic and The Philadelphia Inquirer to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News have each made coronavirus coverage available to non-subscribers. The decision for these outlets was an easy one, even for those who have recently put up paywalls as a way to get people to pay for subscriptions or memberships.“This is a public health emergency. If we have information that’s important for people to read, I’m not sure how ethical it would be to keep that from them if they didn’t give me their credit card,” Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, told Adweek, noting that the outlet made some coronavirus coverage available for free on Tuesday. “We didn’t go into journalism to sell subscriptions. We went in, with any luck, to inform and enlighten the public. And help people.”It’s the first time The Atlantic has moved coverage outside of the paywall since it went live last year. And it’s an issue more publications are grappling with, particularly after many more of them created paywalls in the last couple of years.Coverage on the virus on Bloomberg.com, which created its digital membership program in 2018, is in front of the paywall “for free indefinitely,” a spokesperson said. The New York Times also has a page accessible to everyone without a subscription and a free coronavirus-centric newsletter.The move very well may be good for business.“Offering free information on the coronavirus offers an opportunity to reach new customers [and] readers, who may stick with the publication afterward and perhaps be willing to pay later if they are impressed by the content,” said Tom Meyvis, professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business."" The L.A. Times is also offering free access to pandemic coverage.

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