Journalism vs. Commerce: When is the News Important Enough to Drop a Paywall?

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By: Mathew Ingram |

As Hurricane Sandy advanced towards the eastern seaboard on Sunday, both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal decided to lower the paywalls surrounding their content, presumably to allow readers to access potentially life-saving information about the hurricane and various emergency evacuation procedures. Definitely a noble and public-spirited goal — so noble that when I suggested on Twitter that part of the rationale might also be to promote their content and encourage people to subscribe, I was criticized for impugning the NYT’s motives.

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