Readers, please step forward to help us help you
When your world turns upside down, you find out who your friends are.
Our metro-area communities, for instance, have avoided chaos during this pandemic thanks to the everyday heroism of the essential worker. If it weren't for medical employees, first responders, grocery and pharmacy clerks, delivery drivers, postal carriers, and all others who've had to stay on the job due to the indispensable nature of their work, our community fabric would unravel from COVID-19's cruel effects.
Here at the Pamplin Media Group, we've also discovered a deep well of friendship that's kept our own essential workers on the job. Our subscribers and advertisers continue to support us — and in some cases have intentionally increased their contributions — to ensure vital, local information flows to our communities.
We are grateful for that support. The desire for trusted local news has never been greater, and the urgent need to keep our coronavirus coverage intact is prompting the Pamplin Media Group to look for additional ways to fund this essential journalism. Yes, people are subscribing at savinglocalnews.com, and this is still the best way to give us a sustained revenue stream.
But we've also heard from people who want to do more. Some have even sent us checks unsolicited. That's why we now are partnering with the Local Media Association, a national trade organization, to give readers, businesses and organizations a new way to provide direct support for our COVID-19 coverage. The association has created a 501(c)(3) fund to enable tax-deductible support and enlisted the fundraising website givebutter to accept those contributions online.
Every dollar raised goes directly to support our coronavirus coverage. Think of stories such as reporter Nick Budnick's reporting on state and county health care during the pandemic, or reporter Teresa Carson's story on this year's high school graduates and all of the traditions they've missed.
Like many media outlets, the Pamplin Media Group is making health-related news about the coronavirus crisis free to the public. But it's not free to us.
Most of Pamplin Media Group's 25 newspapers have survived for more than a century of previous pandemics, world wars and recessions both great and small. Even our youngest newspaper — the 19-year-old Portland Tribune — has endured through the 9/11 crisis, the 2002-03 recession and the Great Recession while continuing to publish in print and online.
Our industry is nothing if not resilient, but this current health and economic crisis is different. It comes when our industry already is under tremendous financial pressure, and because of the abrupt nature of the economic shutdown, we've had to lay off employees and cut hours for others. Yet, this crisis also is extremely local in nature, requiring the expertise of journalists to report on how the virus and its economic consequences affect our friends and neighbors.
We understand it's a tough time for everyone. The crisis has changed our lives. Our reporters, photographers and editors still venture out in your community and return to make-shift workstations in their kitchens or spare bedrooms, juggling home life and work, to bring you trusted information.
We've seen record readership growth and we've heard from you — with story ideas, constructive criticism and encouragement. If you believe local, credible information is critical during these unsettling times, please donate to help our around-the-clock coverage of COVID-19's impact.
Regardless of how you choose to support us, we want you to know we value your recognition that local journalism is necessary to sustain strong communities.
Mark Garber is president of the Pamplin Media Group, which publishes 25 community-focused newspapers in the Portland region and Central Oregon.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.