We are back. Back to our regular, weekly print schedule. Hallelujah.
Going biweekly for the last few months was a difficult decision, but to say the reduced pace helped this little, independent, family-owned rag is an understatement — it was critical if we were to survive this roller coaster pandemic and adapt to that awful nomenclature known as ‘the new normal.’
It was a big shift for us and only slightly terrifying (at least to the publisher), but the reception has been overwhelmingly positive and readers and advertisers have been very understanding, even encouraging.
In a time when papers of all sizes are struggling to survive, we have so very much to be grateful for — indeed, we are counting our blessings.
The LD was the happy recipient of a few grants, including the wage subsidy and another from Heritage Canada. The real saviour for all newspapers across Quebec has been the government’s province-wide campaign of paid public service announcements regarding COVID-19 — a perfect use of government funds that financially supports media like the LD, while doing its job of informing the public of critical information and services.
A heartfelt shout-out goes to our local advertisers. After a horrifying nose-dive in ad sales immediately following the shutdowns, many (not all, it’s still a crisis, after all) have returned. Most readers don’t know that the typical paid circulation newspaper still depends on about 75 per cent of its revenue from advertising sales. Our regulars remained loyal and we can’t thank them enough. And then there were the new ‘creative’ ad buys (e.g.: a local band that no longer had shows bought an ad that promised “the funk will go on.” We appreciate that funk is indeed essential in a pandemic, but we’re pretty confident the real intention was to boost spirits and throw some financial support at their local paper.
We even received some totally unsolicited donations from readers and community groups. What the heck, guys? Are you trying to make us cry?
But it was the readers to whom we made the really big ‘ask.’ We went biweekly without any warning (and that was after a three-week shut down) and most subscribers had prepaid until the fall. Though we offered to extend their subscriptions, we can’t count on one hand the number requested. Rather, we got messages of support, even some handwritten ‘thank-you’ cards: “Love, love your paper. Keep on keeping on!”
Please consider this column our own huge ‘thank you’ card to all our supporters, in whatever form that support took. You stoked our fires, you warmed our hearts, you kept the banker at bay, and we are so very grateful to serve this truly extraordinary community.
We are excited to get back to our regular weekly schedule. And quite honestly, a little nervous as our region has earned the “orange” COVID alert status. But as the saying goes, “Ready or not, here we come!”