The community of people that produces the Cooperator is scrambling to keep the Eastern Shore’s only local newspaper alive in the rapidly changing COVID-19 economy. You should be getting the April issue in your mailbox by March 30. Now more than ever, we need you to become a Monthly Supporter so that we have the funds we need to keep bringing the paper to you in this increasingly challenging economy.
COVID-19 is devastating the entire economy. Local newspapers are being particularly hard hit because of the collapse of advertising revenues. Last week, The Coast announced that it was closing down because of the collapse of its entertainment-based advertising base. This week, the Saltwire Network announced that it was laying off 40% of its Atlantic Canada workforce, and closing down all its weekly papers in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
Since our January-February issue came out, we’ve lost our long-time printer on Prince Edward Island (Transcontinental), switched to a local printer for the March issue (Saltwire Network), and then switched back to our original printer for the April issue, this time from a plant in Quebec.
There are those who say, “Why not just go online and save the expenses of printing and mailing the paper?” The Cooperator does have a robust website, and a frequently updated Facebook page.
But we have known since we started seven years ago that an online only publication would leave out to many people on the Eastern Shore for two reasons:
- Basic internet connectivity is still weak or non-existent in too many areas;
- With the Shore’s older population, many people have never become regulars on the Internet. With the printed paper and Canada Post, we know that the paper is reaching every single one of the 14,000 households we cover.
The federal Liberals have been making noises for several years about doing something to help out newspapers across the country, but delivering on these promises has been very slow, and thus far, small papers like the Cooperator would not benefit anyway.
In the past, our advertisers have paid the bulk of our bills. But we know that COVID-19 crisis will cause a dramatic drop in our revenue for the upcoming May issue and beyond.
That’s why we’re asking for you to step up now and become a Monthly Supporter. You can start helping out for only $5 a month.
We’re looking to add 200 new Monthly Supporters this month. If you care about keeping the Cooperator in print, now’s the time to sign up. Go to our Monthly Supporters page on our website and sign up. If you’d rather contribute some other way, send us an email at [email protected], and we’ll get in touch.
Many thanks to all of our existing supporters, who’ve helped us get this far. We look forward to continue bringing the Cooperator to you for years to come with the support of people from across the communities of the Eastern Shore.