Just three weeks ago, it was hard to imagine the imminent human and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Yet here we all are, isolated in our homes, working hard to adhere to the directives from county and state health officials.
It is inspiring — and humbling — that, in the midst of this disruption and worry, hundreds of you are choosing to start subscriptions to the Weekly and Palo Alto Online to help sustain your source of community news and information. Your outpouring of support is helping us carry on.
Our office is closed and our employees are sheltering at home. But they are hard at work. Serving our readers during times of crisis or natural disasters with accurate and timely reporting is one of the most important functions of a local news organization. You are witness to that work.
I have always considered bringing the community together in challenging times to be an essential part of our mission, and I am proud of how our staff, coordinating through video conferences and phone calls, has worked as a team in service to you while taking care of themselves and supporting their families and friends.
But in the midst of this effort, we also have needed to take steps to preserve our ability to continue this important work. This week I had to make painful decisions to lay off several staff members, furlough others and reduce hours for some. We simply cannot sustain our payroll costs while we have only a fraction of our normal advertising revenue, especially when we have no way to know how long this crisis will last.
We are not alone. Local newspapers all over the country face similar or worse challenges, and scores have had to shut down. We are determined to not let that happen here.
My heartfelt thanks to those of you who have already stepped up and started subscriptions entitling you to unlimited access to Palo Alto Online and mail delivery to your home of the Palo Alto Weekly. But we need thousands more of you to do the same.
With your help, now and in the future, we'll proudly be bringing you important news about Palo Alto and the region for decades to come. Please join your neighbors in sustaining local journalism by subscribing today at PaloAltoOnline.com/subscribe.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.