Here at the La Crosse Tribune, we share a bittersweet experience when it comes to this difficult pandemic.
Our hearts and prayers go out to those community members who are sickened or displaced by the impacts of this terrible virus and its disruption of our local economy; while simultaneously we feel great pride for our company and our employees, and the role they play in providing trusted and vitally important news and information that helps our community safely navigate this pandemic. This is mission-driven work for us. For many of us at the Tribune, it’s the very reason we joined this profession: Providing journalism that makes a difference. Not for one moment do we forget the suffering of our neighbors, but we do take great pride in the role we play in helping those neighbors. And those neighbors are increasingly turning to the news and information provided by the La Crosse Tribune.
During March, more than 1.15 million users visited our affiliated websites and read the hundreds of originally reported news stories generated by our newsroom. Coupled with our print editions, today more people than ever, in the history of our newspaper, are reading our content. And toward our mission of community service, we have provided all of our coronavirus-related content free of charge to the community. We feel duty-bound to ensure no one is excluded from what could be life-saving information. Not only have we shared our journalism freely, we’ve also created several programs designed to aid local business at no cost to them including our Support Local Now program providing free directory advertising to local business and a free gift certificate marketplace. All toward helping local business navigate the economic disruption associated with this pandemic.
The frustrating economic irony of this crisis on the newspaper industry is profound. The very thing that is driving our newsroom to excellence in reporting—the coronavirus—has significantly hampered our advertising business. At the same time when our journalism is seemingly valued as highly as it’s ever been, our advertising business, not unlike many other local businesses, has been severely impacted. With many businesses closed, laying off loyal employees or facing yet more difficult uncertainties, we certainly understand why. We believe firmly in helping our neighbors, and hope when this emergency subsides they’ll remember our support and generosity, and consider a subscription to our newspaper or online site; or for local business, a mutually-beneficial advertising program.
But there’s certainly no obligation. We’re proud to be members of this community and pleased to be able to provide our support in helping us all through this. We hope you and your family are safe and healthy. We extend deep appreciation and thanks to our loyal supporters and hope you might join us as a new supporter soon. Sean Burke is president of River Valley Media Group and publisher of the La Crosse Tribune.