As the coronavirus continues to disrupt business as usual in Riverhead, our staff is more determined than ever to deliver in a clear and timely way the news that matters most to you, from the spread of the disease in our community to its effects on our schools, the local economy and the people we all know and love.
We’ve long prided ourselves on our ability to cover a major news event comprehensively. In recent years, we’ve found ourselves facing down storms, on the scenes of countless tragedies and now reporting at a time when our friends and neighbors are finding themselves overcome with sickness, worry and uncertainty.
It is a most challenging time — for all of us.
Our newsroom is still primarily funded through display advertising. As the coronavirus has forced many of our partners in the community to close shop or make drastic cuts, we will need to rely more than in the past on the willingness of our readers to pay to access our content.
We are asking, humbly, that you consider purchasing a digital subscription ($52 per year/ $6 per month) at a time when we need each other more than ever. We will, however, continue to deliver to you all of our coronavirus coverage and 10 additional stories for free each month.
The impacts of the virus have already forced us to make the difficult decision of reducing payroll through furloughs. Your support would help us bring our staffing levels back to where they were just weeks ago when this pandemic rocked the world around us.
But make no mistake about it, the news does not stop and neither will our newsroom.
Each of our remaining reporters and editors — their hearts heavy for their colleagues and others who have suffered from sickness and hardship — are working longer days than ever to stay on top of what’s happening to get you the information you want and need during these most difficult of times. Even as our office has been closed, we’ve continued to produce content day and night and have delivered our print newspaper to mailboxes and newsstands each week.
We will continue to keep our live coverage page updated with regularity so you have one spot to check on what’s happening locally with the virus. And all of our COVID-19 coverage will continue to be published outside of our paywall, making it accessible to all.
We also want to hear from you about the stories we’re not telling, so we encourage all of our readers to write to us with questions, story ideas and tips on this illness affecting all of our lives. The better informed we all are, the healthier our community will be.
We are now nearly three weeks from when the coronavirus was confirmed on the North Fork and in that time, we’ve covered the effects on our hospitals, the impacts on the local workforce and the growing concerns of the local businesses we frequent. Our schools have closed, sporting events are on hold and life is just a little different in this town of ours, where people continue to do good for others under the most trying of circumstances.
— Andrew Olsen, publisher