The Journal is giving away free wifi in New York and San Francisco (that is, the two American cities where you iPhone is least likely to get a decent connection) to promote WSJ.com. Jeff John Roberts at paidContent:
This is one of the paper’s more novel initiatives but it may prove effective. While it’s unlikely that an iPad-touting tourist in Central Park is going to whip out a credit card and subscribe, the free Wi-Fi could be a terrific way for the Journal to let new users encounter its homepage (provided the service doesn’t have the janky qualities of some other free Wi-Fi initiatives).
If you’re lucky enough to have the right deep-pocketed owner buy your paper and steady it, you’ve won the lottery. If you’re in a town whose paper is owned by the better chains, or committed local ownership, your loss will probably be mitigated. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.