News organizations lifting paywalls to share coronavirus coverage

News organizations lifting paywalls to share coronavirus coverage

News organizations around the country have been lifting their paywalls in an effort to keep as much of the public as possible informed about the latest happenings with the coronavirus pandemic.

The livelihood of many news organizations today is based off of revenue generated from subscriptions and advertisements. While many outlets around the country have made access to their coronavirus coverage free to access, many have also felt the economic sting of the virus and have had to lay off or furlough parts of their staff.

That said, in some cases, free-to-access coverage has driven engagement up, which has led to more subscriptions.


Alan Miller, executive editor of The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio, said that on Sunday alone, the newspaper's site racked up more than a million page views and 670,000 unique visitors. By comparison, the week prior, the newspaper had 71,000 page views and 55,000 unique visitors.

“We’re making it free as a public service and hope that readers who appreciate that would consider subscribing to the Dispatch,” Miller told The Associated Press.

On the flip side, the weekly Sacramento (California) News & Review had to suspend operations because of a lack of ad revenue.

“We will have to suspend publishing and lay off nearly all of our amazing and talented staff, we hope only temporarily,” Jeff vonKaenel, the publication's president, said.

The Military Times has also had to furlough dozens of staff members for the next two weeks.