New York Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy confirmed by email that the news organization is suspending its paywall starting this afternoon, so that readers can get information about Hurricane Sandy.
“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,” Murphy said.
With the paywall in place, only digital and/or print subscribers can read beyond 10 articles. The Times suspended its paywall last year when Hurricane Irene threatened New York.
According to its third quarter earnings report released this past week, the Times has about 566,000 digital subscribers to nytimes.com and the International Herald Tribune. But thousands more will be closely following the storm as severe weather typically brings traffic surges to news websites.
Wall Street Journal Digital Network Managing Editor Raju Narisetti tweeted Sunday afternoon that all of wsj.com would be freely available starting Monday. Other newspapers have made similar announcements: The Boston Globe tweets its storm coverage is available free on Boston.com; The Baltimore Sun is dropping its wall; Newsday is also making its content available for free.
FJP: Stay safe all, and happy reading.
It’s a really hard time for newspapers of all kinds. This is the Voice‘s business model and I hate to undermine it. But for anybody who loves journalism: How can you fund that journalism with sex trafficking?
Nicholas Kristof, NY Times op-ed columnist.
Kristof recently published two columns (January 25 and March 17) criticizing online classifieds, especially Backpage.com, for their adult services section as a vehicle for pimps trying to sell girls. Backpage.com is owned by Village Voice Media, and in line with past criticism against sex ads on Backpage.com, Village Voice responded with criticism of Kristof’s fact-checking. In reality, can they afford to eliminate these Backpage.com ads?
Backpage.com rakes in $22 M. annually from prostitution advertising, according to media analysts at AIM. Backpage.com reportedly accounts for one-seventh of VVM’s revenue overall.
(full story via The New York Observer)
The paradox in this story is what Village Voice actually stands for. Kristof writes:
Village Voice began as an alternative newspaper to speak truth to power. It publishes some superb journalism. So it’s sad to see it accept business from pimps in the greediest and most depraved kind of exploitation.
His columns are a call to action:
True, many prostitution ads on Backpage are placed by adult women acting on their own without coercion; they’re not my concern. Other ads are placed by pimps: the Brooklyn district attorney’s office says that the great majority of the sex trafficking cases it prosecutes involve girls marketed on Backpage.
There are no simple solutions to end sex trafficking, but it would help to have public pressure on Village Voice Media to stop carrying prostitution advertising. The Film Forum has already announced that it will stop buying ads in The Village Voice. About 100 advertisers have dropped Rush Limbaugh’s radio show because of his demeaning remarks about women. Isn’t it infinitely more insulting to provide a forum for the sale of women and girls?