To our readers,
In a few short weeks our world has changed. It’s starting to sink in that, once the COVID-19 pandemic passes, we will reenter a different society, one where shaking hands is no longer the polite norm, and a face mask is standard attire when you leave home.
At this point, there are still many unknowns.
One of the unknowns is what your community newspaper will look like, or if it will ultimately survive this devastated economy. With the lockdown, we saw our advertising revenue fall through the floor. Like many other businesses in our community, we went into survival mode. We are grateful to those advertisers who remain with us through these difficult times.
What hasn’t changed is our commitment to community journalism, and keeping our readers informed. Now more than ever, we’re seeing new subscribers, and our website traffic is through the roof. People are craving information about their community. The newspaper has become one way of staying connected.
To help Island County residents at this time, we placed critical coverage in front of our paywall. Our COVID-19 stories can be read online, free of charge. Our subscribers, of course, have full access to our website. We’re also continuing to publish other news, features, letters to the editor, Sudoku, the crossword and more.
Our team is working remotely, so it may take more time than usual to contact us, but we are monitoring our phone messages and emails. Our commitment is to perform our public service mission, which is to keep our community informed and connected.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has exerted financial pressures on the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record like we’ve never experienced before. Sadly, some staff were laid off, while others went from full time to 24 hours per week. We consolidated for now the two newspapers.
We produce two editions each week and distribute them across the island with a skeleton crew.
We hope that you value the critical role and will support your community newspaper in this important mission by becoming a subscriber today.
You’ll also have the option to make a contribution toward supporting independent, local journalism.
We thank you for your support of the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record, and wish you all of the best during this difficult time.
Keven R. Graves,
Executive Editor and Publisher
Whidbey News Group