Monday, October 29, 2012

New site paywalls come tumbling down as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast

A number of news sites are removing their paywalls in light of the weather emergency presented by Hurricane Sandy. The category 1 hurricane, which has been dubbed "Frankenstorm," is expected to make landfall along or just south of the southern New Jersey coast on Monday evening.

Among the sites doing so is the New York Times. Ordinarily, those not subscribing to the paper can only read 10 articles. However, spokesperson Eileen Murphy said,
The gateway has been removed from the entire site and all apps. The plan is to keep it that way until the weather emergency is over.
The Grey Lady has suspended its paywall before. For example, in 2011 the paywall was torn down when Hurricane Irene threatened New York.

Also removing its paywall is the Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal Digital Network Managing Editor Raju Narisetti tweeted the following message on Sunday afternoon:
In addition to comprehensive #Sandy coverage available now, all of will be open to all visitors on Monday October 29
Among the others who have temporarily removed their paywalls:
  • The Baltimore Sun
  • Newsday
  • The Pocono Record
  • Cape Cod Times
As it churns its way along the East Coast, more than half a million people have already lost power. Hurricane Sandy has prompted officials from numerous levels of government to tell residents to evacuate.

Get out before you can't,” Connecticut's governor, Dannel Malloy, said early on Monday, while New Jersey's governor Chris Christie was blunt, saying “Don't be stupid. Get out.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned, “If you don't evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you. This is a serious and dangerous storm."

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama canceled his campaign plans, telling people "When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Do not delay, don't pause, don't question the instructions that are being given."

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