We’ve fielded some tough questions from our loyal readers over the past few weeks, as the coronavirus has tightened its grip on the daily work and personal lives of all of us.
The most stinging question of all has been: “Are you going to make it through these difficult times?”
The honest answer is this: One week into the second quarter of the year, we’re a little bruised and bloodied, but we aren’t going anywhere. We are steadfast and resolute about that.
Like pretty much every other industry you can think of, the community newspaper business has taken a couple of nasty punches to the gut thanks to COVID-19. Advertising revenue is down, because our neighbors who run restaurants, retail stores and most everything in between have had to temporarily close their doors or get creative in ways never seen before. They’ve had to lay off workers or cut their pay. So you can see how that would affect your local newspaper’s ad count.
Along with the dearth of display advertising, legal advertising has taken a sharp hit as well. Courthouses are closed, so a dip in legal advertising has followed. Mercifully, people aren’t being evicted or having their homes foreclosed right now, so at least there’s a humanitarian upside to it.
This slowdown in our budgeted income has had some reverberating effects, as you might imagine. Obviously, we’ve had to tighten our belts also, out of both safety for our associates and being judicious with our resources similar to other businesses during these unprecedented times. Trimming back in areas that simply aren’t active right now, albeit painful, makes sense so we can make it out the other end successfully.
Why are we telling you all this? It’s not for your sympathy. Rather, it’s to let you know that we’re still in there swinging. We’re a little leaner right now, but not in our dedication.
An old saying in the newspaper business is “there’s no news in the newsroom.” That’s 100% true, and these days our reporters are still able to bring you the latest news. We’re still on the scene.
Of course, in addition to our print coverage of our communities, our websites are being constantly updated. As a public service a month ago, APG decided to put all stories about the coronavirus and its effects in front of the paywall. Normally, visitors would have to pony up for a subscription to get such information skillfully gathered by our paid journalism professionals. We’re offering that news to you now free of charge in the hope that when this pandemic has lifted and life gets back to normal, you’ll remember that it was APG Media of the Chesapeake that gave you real, useful and important news about your community instead of the copied and pasted press releases posted by our online competitors.
And to do our part to help support restaurants that are offering to-go and delivery, check out opentoserveyou.somdnews.com on our website. Please visit that link and treat yourself by supporting those eateries.
So to answer that original question once again, we are most definitely still in business. We will promptly answer your phone calls and emails as always. We will be there to guide you through the process of advertising with us. And you can count on us to keep you up to speed in print and online for however long this coronavirus season lasts — and for years beyond that.
Editor’s Note: Donnie Morgan is the Executive Editor of APG Media of Chesapeake’s Southern Maryland newspapers and digital products, and we work in close concert. Our editors are working hard to stay engaged with you, provide excellent customer service and community relations, and keep each other informed and safe throughout this difficult time. — B. Rae Perryman, Editor