Top newspapers lower paywalls for Hurricane Harvey – POLITICO – Politico (blog)


A truck driving through flood waters is pictured here. | AP Photo

Hurricane Harvey rolled over the Texas Gulf Coast on Saturday, smashing homes and businesses and lashing the shore with wind and rain so intense that drivers were forced off the road. | Eric Gay/AP

The nation’s three most storied newspapers — The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal — lowered their paywalls this weekend for coverage of Hurricane Harvey.

The rare, concurrent move by the three titles gave non-subscribers unlimited access to their on-the-ground reporting as Harvey continues to inflict damage along the Texan coastline. It also gives readers access to weather and safety coverage.

“During times when safety may be at risk, access to accurate and up-to-date information is crucial,” a spokesperson for the New York Times told POLITICO.

The three newspapers join The Houston Chronicle and other local Texas news outlets in reducing barriers to entry for content in the wake of Harvey.

The Times previously lifted its paywall in response to Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on the eastern seaboard in October 2012, and during the 2015 Paris terror attacks that left 130 dead and injured hundreds more.

The Post similarly lowered its content barrier on Election Day 2016 and for the January 2016 snowstorm that buried the D.C. metro area in 20-plus inches of snow.

The Post announced Friday that the unlimited Harvey access would last 48 hours, while the Times and the Journal did not specify how long their paywalls would remain down.

The Wall Street Journal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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