Local news is the community link that continues every day and every week, even if its ink-on-paper routine is disrupted.

The COVID-19 environment and Californians’ function within it is a fluid situation, but local publishers are reacting in real time to continue the vital connection between residents and their communities.

With disruption in the ad base and the need to share information about access and logistics, continuity and preservation are key.

Local customers are likely to be able to share where to find paper products, and they may be able to suggest which merchant has early hours for seniors and those with health issues.

And granted, the neighborhood back-fence websites are fostering connection between work-at-home residents. Also, the digital search guides may be offering opportunity for local merchants to flash their “Open” signs online for the smartphone searchers.

But the local publisher that steers a quick pivot in merchant visibility will enable the community forum to continue through this disruption. The bona fide local publisher is able to include among those tips and details the latest, comprehensive information regarding local government’s vital work during the pandemic, along with preserving the heart of community.

Some examples:

Call about a city-backed ad

“You should start assembling ideas community newspapers have for their communities,” read an email to CNPA from Brian Hews, publisher of Cerritos Community Newspaper in Los Angeles County. “For example, I emailed city managers about running an ad paid for by the city with restaurant listings in the ad; two have signed on. Name address phone number website and whether they pick up or deliver. I did it for a substantial discount also so it runs longer.”

“We are in it together”

“It’s probably one of the fastest moving and changing stories I have witnessed in the decades I have been in the newspaper industry,” began the column by Jack Mitchell, publisher of the Ledger Dispatch in Jackson.

On Facebook, he and ad director Beth Bernard explained via video free ads for local businesses. He also described the Support Local directory, updated in real time on the website and social media.

Give it away now…

On Monday, Caroline Titus, publisher and editor of the Ferndale Enterprise, tweeted that she was building a page of free ads with details on local eateries’ open hours and delivery services, right.

“It’s just us now”

“The main flow of visitors into town is hunkered down in their own reality,” reads a column by Rob Galloway, publisher of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, “and our local business community is at war with a deceptive force that is as real as the mountains that surround us.”

Special hours for seniors

The Los Angeles Times and its community papers are relaying to readers the hours for seniors and other at-risk populations to do their shopping in a less-crowded environment, right.

For more on ideas for supporting local merchants, consider this recording of the March 18 or this recording of the March 24 Borrell Associates “Crisis Marketing Webinar.”