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Hurricane Sandy blows down paywalls at NY Times, WSJ

As people go online to keep tabs on Hurricane Sandy, news outlets including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are responding by making their content free, for a while.

Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy approaches the U.S. East Coast on Sunday.

Two major publications have stripped away their paywalls to give consumers unfettered access to up-to-date information on the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.

The New York Times removed its usual paywall on Sunday evening for both its Web site and its apps. Spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Poynter:

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.

The paywall -- which typically prevents users from viewing more than 10 articles for free each month -- has occasionally been removed in the past, when the situation demands it. For example, the paywall was briefly lifted after Osama bin Laden's death, and also when Hurricane Irene hit last year.

The New York Times is not the only media outlet that considers the category 1 hurricane severe enough to lower its paywall temporarily. Raju Narisetti, an editor stationed at the Wall Street Journal, tweeted that the whole site will be available free from today.

Meanwhile, other Web sites are also stepping up their Hurricane Sandy coverage. Google has launched an interactive map tracking Sandy's progress across the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast. There is also a map which details the storm's effects on New York City, which is expected to be an area hard-hit by the impending storm.

Hurricane Sandy has already hit one news outlet hard -- albeit online. has reported 960 million pageviews in the last three days -- an increase of around one-third on its normal traffic -- as the U.S. public scrabbles to stay informed.

Hurricane Sandy resources: Hurricane Sandy Google tracker | Hurricane Sandy NYC tracker | FEMA hurricane safety tips | U.S. National Weather service | CNET Android hurricane apps | CNET iOS hurricane apps | Red Cross news | Notify NYC | City of New York Twitter feed | NY transport news