With newspaper revenues dwindling in the age of the Internet, mobile devices, and social media, popular news publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have implemented paywalls to limit users’ access to their content. To combat that, a number of solutions have popped up to bypass this roadblock and avoid paying for a subscription.
The solutions that work(ed)
I’ve read a number of blog posts describing various methods; some of which still work, others which have only inconsistent results. Here are just a couple of them:
- Delete your browser’s cookies
- Visit the article from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook
- Download an extension/Greasemonkey script
- Google it
If you click a link to a WSJ or NYT article that someone shared on Twitter or Facebook, the referring site will allow you read the entire article. You can subscribe to this Twitter list of New York Times’ affiliated Twitter accounts to easily find all of the latest published articles.
One of the easiest, one-click solutions is to install an extension or Greasemonkey script on your browser. Problem though, they seem to be dropped off the face of the earth, or require a bit of soul-searching before you can find them.
Searching for the article on Google, either from the headline or the URL, also works in obtaining the complete article. I’ve tried it without a hitch in the past however, this method no longer works.
The solution that works (for me)
My preferred method of reading any article on the WSJ or NYT is using Google’s cached web pages. It doesn’t require any browser extension or any installation, although that may speed up the process.
In general terms, the way most search engines work is through building a “snapshot” or cache of any web page it crawls. So, when you search for something on Google or bravely venture off to Bing, the search engine checks its vast storage of cached page when determining which pages are the most relevant to your search query.
So, why might you want to check the cached version of a web page? Here are a couple of reasons:
- The web page has been deleted
- Slow internet connection
- The website’s servers are congested
A fourth reason is that cached pages allow you to read full articles from sites that otherwise would require you to subscribe/pay for access to the content. To access the cached version of an article you want to read, just type into Google the following:
Seems pretty simple right? Minor caveat though. When you copy the URL from WSJ’s articles, they look something like this:
The snippet following the “html” and starting from the question mark needs to be stripped out before you submit your query to Google. Thus, the search should look like this instead:
Here’s a video demonstration for you non-readers: