Digital Publishing
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What media companies are doing to support readers and employees

With rapid changes happening hourly in countries around the world, media companies have also had to shift abruptly in response to the coronavirus outbreak —  putting workflows online, allowing employees to work remotely, and pulling down paywalls. 

In the UK, as of March 17 at 16:30GMT, the government have not yet advised companies or schools to shut, so many companies are taking the wellbeing of their employees into their own hands. 

Hearst UK announced on Tuesday 16 that employees have been strongly advised to work from home throughout the remainder of March 2020.

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“The health and safety of our people and their families is our number one priority. Therefore, we have strongly recommended employees to work from home for the remainder of March 2020 in light of the current situation,” said James Wildman, president of Hearst Magazines Europe. 

Hearst UK will continue to fully service both consumers and clients throughout this period. We continue to adhere to Public Health England’s advice and are monitoring all developments carefully,” Wildman said.

Last week, American magazine media company Meredith urged its employees in New York City to work from home if possible. Business Insider followed suit. Condé Nast and Hearst gave its employees the option of working from home, reported the New York Post. 

New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer wrote on Twitter:

Taking down paywalls, offering digital editions for free

News publishers around the world have been taking down their paywalls for coronavirus coverage, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and Bloomberg News, who have made coverage available to non-subscribers.

Some magazine media companies have also dropped paywalls, and some are offering their digital editions for free. With France, Italy and Spain under strict lockdown, measures which were announced in the last week, both Condé Nast and Hearst opened their digital editions for free so people could enjoy them from home. 

From March 12 to April 1, Hearst Spain announced 19 publications including Elle, Diez Minutos, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Car and Driver, Esquire and others can be accessed for free from the Kiosk platform

“With this measure, Hearst Spain strengthens its commitment to collaborate and help to cope with the complicated situation that we are currently experiencing in our country. A small gesture so that nobody feels alone at home in the face of this global challenge.”

‘We want to be with you’

Condé Nast titles in Spain have the same approach, saying, “Those of us who make Condé Nast Spain possible have worked this past week against the clock and remotely, so that from today the new April magazines in digital format will be available to everyone and accessible from any device in advance.”

Time Out, the global media and entertainment company, has temporarily rebranded itself as Time In New York. “The move was made in recognition of the fact that many New Yorkers are engaging in CDC-recommended ‘social distancing’ as the coronavirus pandemic escalates,” wrote Simon Dumenco for Adage.

Time Out London has done the same, and for a little while will be Time In. “We’re also going to make sure that if you’re stuck indoors you won’t go un-entertained. A little bit of London is coming into your living room. Hopefully it’s been sterilised,” wrote Time Out London Editor Joe Mackertich.

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Dear London, As you know, usually all we do is bang on about how great it is to go out. Judging from the half-empty restaurants and deserted pubs however, leaving the house might not be on everyone’s agenda at the minute. So, just for a little while, we’re not going to be Time Out. We’re Time In. We’re still obsessed with showing you the best of what London can offer. We’re still going to keep you abreast of every drag brunch, burger pop up, experimental poetry slam and gin workshop. But we’re also going to make sure that if you’re stuck indoors you won’t go un-entertained. A little bit of London is coming into your living room. Hopefully it’s been sterilised. It’s also important to me that London’s fantastic venues know that we’re on their side. Quite frankly, right now is a difficult time to be a small cafe, niche gallery, indie cinema or specialist shop in London. We will continue championing the independent businesses across the capital, that make London the brilliant city that it is. If you have stuff happening and you want people to know about it, get in touch at We’ll help in any way we can. To everyone reading: London has faced far worse than this. Our city’s history is a litany of cataclysms. Fires, plagues, riots and war. In every incidence we have emerged stronger. London’s greatest asset is its people, a hotchpotch of cultures and influences. As long as we look to each other for strength, reassurance and humour, nothing can defeat the city. Love each other and stay safe. @k_mackertich, Editor

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By Jessica Patterson  @jesspatterson

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