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Jeff Long

Subscribers to the Effingham Daily News did not get a print newspaper on Tuesday. They will not get one on Thursday.

If you felt a pang of emptiness without the paper, we also felt empty not producing the print edition on Monday. However, we spent the day posting stories to our effinghamdailynews.com website to keep our area updated on the latest news in our community, state and nation.

Our website continues to get some of the highest page views we’ve ever had. Most of the stories we post these days – related to the novel coronavirus – are free to people who do not subscribe to the paper because we feel they are so important. I thank St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital for sponsoring that content. It is very helpful but does not make up for all of the expense that goes into producing the news.

Businesses across Effingham County are struggling, along with their counterparts throughout Illinois. While many are closed – we hope temporarily – others continue to provide essential services as best they can in the face of unthinkable difficulties.

Count the Effingham Daily News among those businesses still open and struggling. Since before President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered most Illinoisans to stay at home, the EDN has kept you informed about the impact of COVID-19 locally and elsewhere. And we continue to bring you other news about the life of our community.

It has not been easy, and now it is harder. The most expensive aspect of publishing a newspaper, after people, is printing it and delivering it to your door. At the EDN, the pandemic has had a nearly devastating financial impact. Our struggles have been no greater – and no less – than any other business in our community.

As you support as best you can other local businesses, know that we are in hard times right along with them. We’ve lost a significant portion of our advertising revenue. And we need your help, too. The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on newspapers everywhere. Some have closed. That will leave a void in their communities that is difficult to imagine.

As EDN Publisher Amy Winter prepared readers on April 23 in a note on the front page, this week we reduced our print publication days from six days per week to four: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. We have also made other painful reductions as we work to save the newspaper.

The impact of COVID-19 on our business dictates we do things differently. The loss in revenue is forcing us into decisions that I hoped we’d never have to make. But they are necessary to continue to serve the Effingham community.

Our job to provide news and entertainment that you want is important to you and to us. I know you have come to expect certain things in your community newspaper. I also know you may not like some of the decisions that we are forced to make due to fewer resources.

We will continue to provide you with timely news online daily and four times a week in print. We are committed to working hard every day.

A few more people have subscribed to the newspaper since the coronavirus crisis began, because news today is more essential than ever. But it just hasn’t been enough, not nearly enough, to offset the losses in advertising revenue.

I do appreciate those new subscribers and also the handful of businesses able to keep advertising during all of this. If others of you can support our journalism through subscriptions or advertising, it will help more than you can know. And, of course, be deeply appreciated.

Since I was a boy, the local newspaper has been an essential way to start my day. At first, it was the sports pages and comics, but then I discovered how helpful it was as a guide to so much more. News and feature stories told me about the community where I lived and the people who shared it with me like no other source of information could. And other stories connected me to a wider world.

Thank you for reading the Effingham Daily News. I hope all businesses in the community, including the EDN, emerge more vigorous than ever.

Stay strong. Stay safe. Stand united by standing apart – for now.

Effingham Daily News Editor Jeff Long can be reached at jeff.long@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151 ext. 129.

Editor

Graduated with a degree in journalism from UW-Madison in 1987. Reporter at a newspaper outside London, England. Then a reporter at papers in Pennsylvania and Virginia. For 13 years, a reporter and editor at the Chicago Tribune. Named EDN editor in 2014.

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