Washington Post drops paywall in wake of DC shooting

The Washington Post is suspending its pay gate in an effort to get information out to all readers.

The Washington Post's front door has a banner stating that content is free. Screenshot/CNET
The Washington Post has dropped its paywall for readers seeking more information about the shootings Monday morning in the Washington Navy Yard, a military facility near Capitol Hill. At least 13 people were killed in the shooting, including a gunman, according to police.

A blue banner on the front door of the Post's Web site reads "Full access to washingtonpost.com is currently available without charge."

It's not the first time that a major publication has decided to remove a paywall in an effort to give more readers access to information in the wake of a tragedy. The New York Times and other newspapers removed their paywalls during Hurricane Sandy, and BostonGlobe.com and other publications suspended their paywalls following the Boston Marathon explosions.

There's been plenty of speculation about Jeff Bezos' plans for the Post, ever since the Amazon CEO announced his $250 million purchase of the newspaper last month. So far, Bezos has been mostly hands-off. In a memo to Post employees after the announcement, he wrote that he "won't be leading The Washington Post day to day" and that the "paper's duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners."

Some have speculated that Bezos will be working toward a way to get more readers to pay for content.

Today's decision to tear down its paywall, however, likely had little to do with Bezos and more to do with serving the public interest during a tragedy.

Update 2:05 p.m. PT: Added new information from the police report.

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About the author

Desiree Everts DeNunzio is a freelance editor and writer. She's dabbled in digital media and technology for the past decade, including stints at CNET News and Wired magazine. When she's not fiddling with various gadgets, she spends her time running after chickens and her own brood.

 

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