We all feel tremendous empathy for those residents whose loved ones have been victims of COVID-19, as well as the large number of people who have lost their jobs or been furloughed. As we enter the eighth week of sheltering in place it seemed like a good time to give you a brief update on how we're doing.
As our reporters work hard to keep you informed on the crisis and the heroic work of health care professionals, nurses and first responders, I feel immense gratitude and pride for how the community has responded. With so much uncertainty about the future, every one of us is trying to thoughtfully sort out our plans for when and how we safely return to a new "normal."
Our team at The Almanac is remaining in operation (albeit mostly from home and, for some, on a reduced schedule) as an essential business. Our employees are therefore struggling with the dual stresses of covering an emotional and continuing breaking news story and coping with social isolation and the needs of their extended families.
At the same time, the closure of businesses and shelter-at-home orders meant very few businesses had anything to advertise, forcing us to make the difficult decision to suspend our print edition on April 1. Like many other businesses, we face an unprecedented business crisis.
Thankfully, we have been able to continue reporting online with the support of hundreds of local residents who have become subscribing members in the last seven weeks. And two weeks ago we were also relieved to receive an SBA PPP loan that will offset some of our losses. We are hoping to be able to resume our print edition soon after businesses are able to reopen. But the high cost of printing and mailing a printed newspaper makes this far from certain. Whether we determine we can resume the print edition or not, we are firmly committed to continue to serve the community with the high quality and trusted online local news coverage you have come to expect and that we have been providing for many years.
You may not realize that the plight of local news organizations was already dire, and the future of local journalism in doubt, because of a steady decade-long decline in local advertising brought on by the disruption of independent local retail by online shopping. Newspapers all across the country are facing this challenge, and many simply can't afford to continue.
To secure the future of our company, we had already begun to shift our business model over the last two years to one built on reader support rather than on advertising. We can only succeed in this transition, however, if current readers like you -- those who read our daily Express news digest, visit our website for the latest local news or have read the print edition of The Almanac -- do your part by becoming a subscribing member.
We frequently hear from readers and friends who believe they are subscribers because The Almanac was delivered to their home or because they receive Express every morning by email. Unfortunately, that's not the case.
If you are reading this email, it means that you are NOT a subscriber to either The Almanac or our website under the email address I am using to reach you today. (If you think you may have used a different email address to subscribe, you will know if you are receiving "Local Scoop," the newsletter we email exclusively to active subscribers on the second week of each month. Scoop provides a glimpse inside our journalism, invitations to subscriber-only events and occasional free tickets to local entertainment events.)
Your support is more important to our future now than ever before. It will allow us to retain an outstanding team of journalists who are vital to our community staying well-informed. There has never been a time when the importance of a trusted local news source was more obvious than today.
If you value local journalism, please do your part to keep it thriving. Help us reach our goal of 800 new subscribers by the end of June and become a member today.
Founder and President