The Low Down will be publishing biweekly until the fall, and our goal is to be back to our regular weekly schedule come October at the latest.
It’s been a roller coaster ride trying to plan and predict during this pandemic, and not the fun kind that makes you squeal in horrified delight because you know it’s going to end in a few minutes.
COVID-19 has upended everything; papers of all sizes are struggling to survive: PostMedia shut down 15 of its community papers a few weeks ago, our regional French daily is now printing weekly, many publishers in our newspaper association had to lay people off with only a skeleton staff who now burn the midnight oil.
Elsewhere we heard of one panicked publisher who shut the paper down, laid off the whole staff then did a 180 and brought them all back a week later when the federal wage subsidy was announced — only to find out the paper didn’t qualify. We have kept our team, all but one who left of her own accord, as we are relying on that wage subsidy too. But we still don’t know if we qualify because our accountant is so short staffed due to the school situation that her backlog has pushed our file by weeks. And just this Friday our printer informed us that it is shutting down forever. The Low Down was one of Performance Printing’s first clients when both started up in 1973, and we have been a loyal and steady customer ever since.
But nothing is steady and predictable anymore, not for us, not for our local businesses whose advertising funds us, not for the school system that working parents depend on, not for so many other things. The effects of the pandemic are exhausting and draining on our financial and human resources.
For those reasons we will be printing biweekly until the fall. Considering nearly half our team has elementary-aged children at home, this decision is needed; not only to preserve the financial health of this little family-run paper, but of the actual health of our staff.
Make no mistake, we are in this for the long haul and we plan to return to our weekly schedule in a few months. But to do so, we need to pace ourselves during this incredibly difficult time. Hopefully we will be able to publish two jam-packed editions per month, rather than four anemic ones as we wait for shuttered businesses to re-open and events to start up again.
We know this is not ideal, but we thank our readers from the bottom of our hearts for your understanding and patience as we weather this storm together. For our subscribers who paid in advance, we will be happy to issue a credit for those missing editions, just email classifieds@lowdownonline with the subject line “Subscription Credit.” We are still working hard to get the important news out to readers in a timely manner: make sure to check regularly our Facebook page or www.lowdownonline.com. Despite our paced approach, we know it’s our responsibility to keep you informed.
We love putting out this little rag, and we love our readers and our community. Please stay with us as we navigate this pandemic. Everything is shifting, including our revenue model, and we need our readers now more than ever.