We wish we could say that the notice on today’s front page came as a surprise. The staff of The Observer has worked hard to avoid a further reduction ever since we went to three days a week in October 2018. The economic impact of coronavirus has been too severe, deeply cutting our advertising revenue as the local businesses who support us have been forced to temporarily close or to cope with upheaval in the name of keeping the public safe.
We’ve been providing coronavirus-related stories for free online, which no doubt hasn’t helped our circulation revenue, but those stories are filled with important information you need to know to stay healthy or to understand the pandemic that is reshaping our nation and world.
Newspapers across the country have been driven to reduce publication days, to lay off or furlough employees, or in some cases to cease publication altogether.
It is disheartening that we too must further cut our print editions as we fight to stay afloat, but that’s where we are.
This won’t be the first time The Observer has been a weekly publication — although there’s no one old enough to remember the last time we produced only a weekly paper. Publisher and editor C.B. Allen started a daily edition in 1905. We published both daily and weekly Observers until 1988.
And it’s in that same spirit that we’ll be operating going forward, thanks to the internet.
Our plan is to provide local news; state, national and world news; sports; and opinion pieces throughout the week at our website, www.moultrieobserver.com. It will be like having a daily newspaper on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
We will continue to publish weather alerts and breaking news about important events to our website whenever they happen.
We’re working on improvements to our online calendar, which allows you to post your event information to our website, so our readers can see it anytime online and it can be reprinted in the print edition if the event is still relevant by the publication date.
We’ll publish one print edition each week, on Wednesday. It will include features that have previously run on different days of the week, such as Friday’s Church Page and Activities Page and Sunday’s HomeStyle page.
The best stories posted to the website the previous week will be included in the print publication so that readers who don’t look for them online will still have the critical information they need. We expect the weekly issue to be filled with local news, with very little room for news from any other source.
We will continue to tease each day’s top news and features through Facebook and Twitter.
The Moultrie Observer is fully committed to remaining the best source of news about Moultrie and Colquitt County in whatever format you seek us out. How well we’ll be able to do that will be up to readers and to advertisers.
If you are not a subscriber, please consider becoming one. Contact us at MOB.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business owners can reach out to us at email@example.com as you bring your business back online. We can get the word out to potential customers that you’re open again — or that you’ve never closed. Let people know what you’re doing to keep them healthy and safe as they shop in your store, eat in your restaurant or participate in whatever activities you offer.
Newspapers are businesses, and decisions about personnel or publication dates are based on the business environment we find ourselves in. Your support can change the business environment.
We’ve been your friend and neighbor since 1894 — 126 years. We intend to be here for 126 more. Only your support will make that possible.