State Rep. Rosario Urges Hearst Media To Remove Paywall During Public Health Emergency

In a recent column Wendy Metcalfe, vice president of content and editor-in-chief at Hearst Connecticut Media Group, declared “Public-service journalism, which results in societal good or change, runs deep in our veins.”

The context was in relation to staff coverage of the Coronavirus crisis including the Connecticut Post, one of the media organization’s properties.

Except this so-called “public-service journalism” comes with a price tag that many other media giants have suspended: a subscription paywall.

State Rep. Chris Rosario, who’s East Side/Hollow constituency is among the poorest in the state and relies on critical information, says Hearst should show leadership in what the paper declares a pandemic.

“At a time when information sharing is critical to the overall public health, I am disappointed that Hearst has not suspended the paywall practice,” said Rosario in a statement. “Other media outlets such as the Hartford Courant, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are providing free access and I ask Hearst to reconsider allowing open communications during this crisis.”

A story in Adweek suggests digital outlets removing paywalls during a crisis may build more readers as a result of goodwill

“This is a public health emergency. If we have information that’s important for people to read, I’m not sure how ethical it would be to keep that from them if they didn’t give me their credit card,” Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, told Adweek, noting that the outlet made some coronavirus coverage available for free on Tuesday. “We didn’t go into journalism to sell subscriptions. We went in, with any luck, to inform and enlighten the public. And help people.”

…The move very well may be good for business.

“Offering free information on the coronavirus offers an opportunity to reach new customers [and] readers, who may stick with the publication afterward and perhaps be willing to pay later if they are impressed by the content,” said Tom Meyvis, professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business.



  1. I maybe clueless on this entire subject but doesn’t the Ct. house have better things to do than worry about a paywall? Most people don’t buy the paper anymore but its there if you want it. People listen & watch the T.V or listen to the radio or even get info on their phones/computers etc. Most newspaper type business like Hearst Media Ct. are just staying afloat never mine having to listen to Ct. Rep’s telling them how to run their business, no? In other words, there’s more important things to do besize this topic right now in Ct. The Ct. house needs to put their thinking caps on instead of playing nickel & dime politics!

  2. A welcome word or two to the wise words from returning poster, Mojo.
    Yes, the State Rep is asking for a voluntary period without pricing for something seen as valuable today by some? Who will pay the investigative reporters for their efforts, if such free service were not to bring new subscriptions? Private industry is working out their revenues and expenses on business models. What is the State doing in the same regard?

    Isn’t the dire situation of the children of the poorest in his district of larger concern? If so what is he saying often and with force? Who is teaching the reading skills to those who would use electronic devices in future years? Does this respected State Representative know that there is no public school in Bridgeport with any extra aides and interventionists at the K-1 level where as many as 30% of entering students have no sense of how symbols represent sounds, and how phonetic sounds are combined to form spoken English, and how once vocabulary is gained from the spoken word, reading can follow successfully?

    Isn’t the plight of Bridgeport schools, long underfunded and stripped of so many supposed “extras” that are not truly extra, of more dire import? Where is the proportional sense of outrage from the Bridgeport delegation on ECS basically or on other grant programs whose absence makes better futures harder to achieve?

    If paying for desired items and priority issues is the fault of “business models undergoing change”, how has the delegation failed to return to the City and explain in a Town Hall meeting to parents, why their youth and all students gain so little traction in the State of CT legislature? Will Governor Lamont return to schools here with a successful model and some money?
    Time will tell.

  3. King Rosario is asking Hearst to take down their paywall,they better do it,or else he’ll be forced to go to their offices and ask if they know who he is!!


Leave a Reply