Thank you. Thank you for your continued support during this time.
Last week, I wrote a column called "Coronavirus, the news, our newspaper and you," and since then, scores of new readers have joined us by signing up for subscriptions, and our website traffic has increased by 50 percent. That keeps us going, literally, and it puts wind in our sails that the news and information our journalists are providing — especially during the new coronavirus crisis — matters.
I wrote last week that our goal is to continue publishing a print newspaper. So far, so good. But I also signaled that this crisis might force us to adapt to continue publishing.
A downturn in print advertising due to event cancellations and various closures means we have to tighten the ship. So, starting today, you'll find that our print edition is smaller. We do so not because we want to, but because it's required at the moment and because we want to be here to serve you down the road. We hope this temporary reduction in page count — which saves very expensive newsprint — will help us ride out this storm.
We're also enduring a shared sacrifice here at our company, through a 40-hour furlough among each of our employees over the course of the next five weeks, that also will help us get through this difficult time financially. This isn't happy news here, but many employees have told me they understand the necessity of this decision.
Most importantly, they've told me they're willing to press on — no matter what it takes.
Overall, our news production will remain robust, and we're planning here to ensure that our stories remain vibrant and relevant and informative, especially around the coronavirus and other important local news. We're planning to add news pages to our electronic edition, where the cost of newsprint isn't an issue, and continue pumping other news online. (For our home delivery subscribers, our electronic edition, mobile/tablet apps and website already are part of your subscription, as is complete access to our website. If you need assistance signing on or signing up for the e-edition or the website, call us for help at 800-245-0254. Our customer service department will walk you through it.)
If you want to help us help you, please do so by subscribing. Subscribe to the print edition. Get a digital-only subscription. You can do that by calling 800-245-0254 or by visiting BerkshireEagle.com/subscribe. We need you as much as you need us; that's how I believe this works.
I want to leave you with a reminder and a request.
First, the reminder.
Our reporting and coverage of the coronavirus is a crucial community resource during this public health crisis, and we're providing it on our website and mobile apps, for no cost, at berkshireeagle.com/coronavirus. Whether you are a subscriber or not, you can access and read all of the latest coronavirus updates on our website.
This segment of the news is free, but it doesn't come without paying the journalists to pursue the news, vet it and write it up.
Second, the request.
The journalism you're reading here and online is the result of the hard work and dedication of our journalists. Our reporters. Our editors. Our photographers. Our contributors. If you see one of them out and about, take a moment and thank them for the work they're doing, especially now.
If you're practicing your social distancing, email the person who wrote your favorite story in today's paper. Or email the photographer who took your favorite photo. If you liked a headline, email the news editor. They'll appreciate it so much.
Better yet, or in addition to those notes of encouragement to our staff, write us a letter to the editor. Send it my way, and I'll make sure it gets published. (If there's something you want us to be reporting on but you haven't seen it, email me about that, too.)
I will keep you updated on new developments, too, as we figure out how to adapt and innovate to deliver you the news. Spread the word: Tell a friend or family member to check us out and encourage them to subscribe.
Lastly, on behalf of all of us here, thank you again.
Like I ended last week: We care about you, so, take care of yourself. Follow those guidelines. Wash those hands. Avoid touching your face. Help others if you can. Remain calm but vigilant. We're all in this together.
Kevin Moran is the executive editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.