We asked and you answered. For this, we’re profoundly thankful.
Last month, we turned to you for financial support in this time of unprecedented challenge.
To our delight, many of you responded with generous donations to help with our ongoing efforts to report on the COVID-19 crisis and other local news.
Thanks to your support, we are able to hire two summer interns to bolster our coverage of the coronavirus. The first one starts this coming week and we’re thrilled to have him back for a second summer. Brenton Blanchet comes to us fresh off his graduation from the University of Buffalo (see his wonderful essay about his virtual graduation on the cover of today’s Opinion section) and he adds another talented reporting hand to our COVID team. Our second intern will begin in a few weeks. And with future donations to us through the non-profit Local Media Foundation, we will be able to fund interns in the fall, too.
Skillful interns like Brenton allow us to expand our coverage in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
As I’ve said before, these are challenging times. The economy as a whole has been battered by the coronavirus and all of the related shutdowns and restrictions. For the newspaper industry, the timing of the economic slowdown is a double whammy.
The industry has experienced seismic downsizing over the past two decades. Since 2004, about 1,800 newspapers have closed in the United States. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, more than 30 local newsrooms across America have been shuttered -- and the count is still running.
Thanks to the commitment of our family owners to The Gazette and our community the company is in a relatively stable position. But the pressures are real, as more and more advertisers and households cut back on their spending as part of a broader effort to survive 2020.
Despite all of these challenges, many of you have taken the time to send us your generous donations along with some heartfelt notes of encouragement.
Just last week, I received a donation and a touching personal note to me and my newsroom colleagues. The handwritten note was especially poignant because the donor is a longtime Gazette subscriber who isn’t always a fan of some of the positions that we stake out on our editorial page. And yet she wanted to contribute because of everything we do to cover our -- your -- community.
To her and all of you, we say thank you.
Be well and please keep reading.