In a week where sports editors deftly profiled brave hardware-store owners and dining critics produced directories for take-out eateries, the real costs of vanishing ads on production and staff became evident. And publishers are telling the story.
The Brentwood Press papers in Eastern Contra Costa County have temporarily suspended print and cut staff.
As Publisher Greg Robinson wrote last week: “For the remainder of our team, we will stay together (well, at least 6 feet apart) and stay healthy, so we can continue to bring you the news that you want, which is always verified and confirmed.”
The News & Review weeklies in Sacramento, Chico and Reno earlier had suspended print and laid off staff. Here’s President and CEO Jeff vonKaenel:
“Our community needs all hands on deck. And we want to help. While we will suspend publication of our print newspaper, we will continue to provide news and arts coverage online on our blog.”
Embracadero Publishing suspended print of the Mountain View Voice and The Almanac. Here’s Publisher Bill Johnson in the Palo Alto Weekly:
“We are not alone. Local newspapers all over the country face similar or worse challenges, and scores have had to shut down. We are determined to not let that happen here.”
Editor Sara Rubin quoted Publisher Erik Cushman in Monterey County Weekly: “The Weekly will persevere in its journalistic and business mission because the alternative is that people get their information from Facebook and NextDoor, and that is not the remedy from what ails us all.”
Meanwhile, news companies are seeking new subscriptions from digital readers. And newspapers are encouraging print subscribers to activate their digital access and patronize local businesses if possible.
Supplies for printing and production are not being disrupted, a CNPA survey of California job printers this week found.
The association also provided an essential-designation letter that California news, production, distribution and technical personnel can carry during the COVID-19 shutdown. If your staff does not have this Essential Critical Infrastructure letter, please contact us for a copy.