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Gannett retains paywalls on coronavirus news

National trend is to offer COVID-19 news free to non-subscribers

By David Wildstein, March 16 2020 2:17 pm

While some newspapers have lifted their website paywall on news stories dealing with coronavirus, Gannett has not.

Gannett, which operates ten daily newspapers in New Jersey, limits readers to seven free stories a month before their access to news is blocked.  Those in search of local news must either become a subscriber or search for information elsewhere.

Major news organizations, including the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Wall Street Journal, are making coronavirus news coverage available to non-subscribers.

“McClatchy News Sites have lifted the paywall on our websites for this developing story, ensuring this critical information is available for all readers,” the media company said on its website.  “Please consider a digital subscription to continue supporting vital reporting like this.”

The Trentonian has also dropped its paywall and is offering free news on the pandemic.

The Press of Atlantic City is allowing non-subscribers from viewing articles about COVID-19 related news, including Gov. Phil Murphy’s order to close Atlantic City casinos at midnight.

While Murphy’s executive order imposes restrictions on a multitude of New Jersey businesses, no calls have been made to lift paywall subscriptions for vital community news.

POLITICO New Jersey has just four of their last twelve coronavirus-related stories behind a paywall. The New Jersey Globe and the Star-Ledger have no paywall.

Gannett operates The (Bergen) Record, Herald News, Daily Record, Asbury Park Press, Courier-News, Home News Tribune, Daily Journal, New Jersey Herald, Courier-Post and Burlington County Times newspapers.

A screen shot from The (Bergen) Record on March 16, 2020.

Full disclosure: the New Jersey Globe subscribes to most Gannett New Jersey news sites.  

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