To our readers: We're making changes, too
March 22, 2020
Most of us don’t know anyone gravely ill from COVID-19. At least not yet. But the world pandemic has left us all feeling ill, or at least apprehensive, because of its economic impact.
Schools are closed, restaurants are limited to take out and drive-thru, and we can’t go to the movie theater or the mall.
Every business in the nation has been impacted, including our newspaper.
As a result, we’ll be forced to make some changes over the next few weeks — some aimed at protecting the health of our staff, some we hope will help us keep the bills paid.
• Beginning Monday, we will temporarily close our office doors. We’re still working, harder than ever in many cases. But we ask — for your safety and ours — that you call us at 575-763-3431 or contact us through our website (the “contact” link in the dark blue bar) rather than visit the office if possible.
Many of our staff members are working from home, as we know many of you are.
If you do need to transact business face-to-face, you can call or text me and I’ll make that happen. My cell is 806-290-6123. My email is
• The printed newspaper is going to be smaller over the next few weeks. Here’s why:
Our newspaper revenue comes in two forms — subscriptions and advertising. Advertising brings in the most money by far.
With the COVID-19 scare, many of our advertisers have been forced to temporarily limit services, or postpone or cancel events; so obviously they don’t need to advertise.
Reducing the number of pages we print will help us absorb that loss in revenue.
Most of the content we print now will still be available on our website
if it’s not in print.
Print subscribers receive website access at no extra charge. If you’re a print subscriber and you need an online password, you can email our internet technology director:
• Finally, there is some good news for consumers of local news. The problems outlined above have created opportunity in another area. We’re reporting more news, more often, in our online edition, which is updated daily, often multiple times.
It’s obvious that you, dear reader, already know that.
Our online readership is skyrocketing as the community looks for the latest, most accurate, information about our changing world.
IT Director Shawn Luscombe reports the number of “unique visitors” to our website is up 28 percent from this time last month.
Specifically, we had 51,452 devices access our website at least once from Feb. 1 to Feb. 19. From March 1 to March 19, that number was 65,928.
Our “new users” are up 36 percent from a month ago, and readers are also staying on our website 42 percent longer than before.
We will continue to provide regular updates as news breaks. And because of the significance of COVID-19, we’ve made those stories accessible for free. You need a subscription to read most of our news stories online, but not these, not now.
The business side of journalism has been frustrating these past few years, for a lot of different reasons. But it’s heartening to know reliable news is still important to our communities and that you’re trusting us to provide that service.
Thank you, and please take care of yourselves in these interesting times.
— David Stevens