Many Florida newspapers drop paywalls but promote digital alternatives to keep in touch

Sharon Dunten | Executive Editor |

Major newspapers on the Florida’s east coast and the low country of Georgia and South Carolina coast drop their paywalls so residents and visitors in their areas can access Hurricane Dorian information without having to log in or pay a subscription to access breaking news.

News organizations and residents wait for Dorian to hit landfall first on Florida’s east coast and later as the storm moves toward Savannah and maybe Charleston, SC. Residents will find breaking news in their area by connecting online, watching television reports or listening to the local radio stations with their local news organizations.

The Florida Times Union‘s paywall for the is down and will remain that way until “Dorian is no longer a threat,” states their website. If electricity is lost, readers might become more dependent upon mobile phones for information. Therefore, the website states that it is asking for residents to keep informed with the updated news in three ways for their residents to keep in touch with the newspaper via the internet.

  • Download our mobile app today to get push notifications with the latest updates
  • Sign up for breaking alerts newsletter
  • To follow their news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

The news site is also providing tracking maps as the prediction models for their readers. Dorian is anticipated to arrive in Jacksonville on this Wednesday, reports the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Fla.

This is an example of a map from the website that is tracking Hurricane Dorian.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is a component of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) located at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.

Keeping residents abreast of critical information for possible life-saving information such as mandatory evacuations and dangerous flooding will arrive quickly from area news stations and newspaper online websites. Local authorities will also have information available on their sites.

The staff, who cover central Florida including Brevard County, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, and the Space Coast, has dropped its paywall for access to “need-to-know” storm coverage.

“You will not be required to log in as your follow our stories, photos and video at” statement

Their website states that the journalists will keep their residents updated on what the government, agencies and institutions are reporting.

“Our journalists will be reporting on the storm right before, during and immediately after any landfall, as long as it is safe to do so.”

The management at The Daytona Beach News-Journal announced online to their readers that “it has decided to suspend the paywall of the newspaper’s website, the, ahead of the approach of Hurricane Dorian.”

The website is open to all their digital products.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Not far away from Daytona Beach, a bit southwest, the has also dropped it paywalls for the smaller communities it covers that are located 30 minutes inland from the coastline.

Some newspapers didn’t wait to drop their paywalls until there were more stable predictions of Dorian’s path. dropped its paywalls last week on Wednesday and Thursday for its Treasure Coast readership. Its coverage area includes Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin, and in some Palm Beach counties in lower southeastern Florida coast.

The website states:

Last Wednesday the “Treasure coast was in the middle of the NHC forecast cone, with potential landfall as early as Sunday.”

Even though Hurricane Dorian has shifted north and was stalled in the Atlantic, the audience has seen rain bands hitting the area since 8 a.m. this morning and is expected to feel Dorian’s effects until late tonight or Tuesday morning, according to meteorologists.

Online newspapers located throughout the country are also opening up specific pages of their paywalls in regard to Hurricane Dorian coverage. For example, the Raleigh News Observer, the Charlotte Observer and even as far away as the Nevada Public Radio,, are keeping readers informed about Dorian+ on their websites.

Sharon Dunten

Sharon Dunten is the executive editor for Dunten is also a freelance journalist based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Her work has appeared in many regional publications and The Washington Post. Dunten served as the assistant regional director for the Society of Professional Journalists in Region 3 for more than six years.Her journalism career includes working in the Midwest for urban newspapers since 1990s.

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