Your local newspapers need your help | Without financial support, the Sounder, Journal and Weekly could close amid COVID-19 crisis

Your local newspapers need your help | Without financial support, the Sounder, Journal and Weekly could close amid COVID-19 crisis

Never before have so many readers thanked us for providing critical information to the community as they have in the past three weeks.

Unfortunately, while we continue to work around the clock to cover the COVID-19 crisis in both our online and print editions, our ad revenue has dropped substantially due to local business closures and event cancellations.

It’s no secret that small-town journalism faces the same economic pressures as other small businesses because we too are a local enterprise that relies on retail revenue from thriving storefronts on main street.

As we weather this storm with the intention of sailing out on the other side, our company made the painful decision to lay off employees. All full-time staff members of the Sounder, Journal and Weekly have been reduced to part-time wages. Company-wide, many free printed weeklies have been converted to online editions.

For the Islands’ Weekly on Lopez, starting with the April 7 edition, its content will be published in the pages of the Sounder. For the foreseeable future, the regular, free print product that has gone to all Lopez residents for decades will no longer exist.

We are faced with the very real and very scary possibility of closing all of our doors in the coming weeks despite being categorized as an“essential service” by state government.

We are enormously grateful to the advertisers who continue to use our pages for sharing important announcements during this time of unpredictability. We are offering drastically reduced ad costs in order to both support our fellow business owners and keep our products in print.

Our publications are a vital part of these island communities, particularly for those who do not use the Internet on a regular basis.

In good times and bad we’ve been here to provide valuable, reliable information that people have come to expect. Since 1906 — without interruption — our family of community newspapers has covered the triumphs and the heartbreak of this place we call home.

I am asking you to consider us as we endeavor to keep the residents of San Juan County informed during and after this crisis. Any financial support you can offer will go toward achieving this goal.

Place an ad in any of your island newspapers, sign up for a subscription or make a donation by emailing me at csmith@soundpublishing.com. Sponsor a message to the community. Post a picture of your family enjoying time together. Pledge to participate in what makes our tiny communities special.

We believe our economies will recover. We are resilient, and we always turn to each other in times of trial. We can come out of this a stronger and more unified community and we can only do that together.