In an effort to update the public on Hurricane Irma, the journalism industry appears to be opting for charity over commercialism.
The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are continuing to lift their paywalls, allowing readers to access updates for free. Until now, paywall suspensions were almost unheard of, but chaotic weather has prompted intermittent availability of free coverage, as Irma is the second hurricane to barrel into the U.S. within a matter of weeks.
“We see this as part of our mission,” said Clifford Levy, a digital editor at the Times. “We see this as a public service to provide this information to the world at times like this.”
Subscription models have been widely adopted as a means of funding journalism during a time when print media continues to suffer, the Times introducing its paywall in 2011 to mitigate the impact of its decline in advertising and circulation.
Under the circumstances of Hurricane Irma, the three newspaper giants say it’s time to overlook profits in favor of unrestricted information as the country continues to face record flooding, damages and a rising death toll amid the seemingly endless surge of storms into the coast.