Darel La Prade: Our newspaper is your newspaper

In this unique historical moment, when everyone is struggling to understand the definition of “flattening the curve” and how to practice “social distancing,” questions abound and proliferate.

Darel La Prade.

Where will you find accurate and credible information about what is happening in our community?

Where will you find an explanation of the steps taken by state and local health officials to slow and stop COVID-19?

Where will you get an explanation of the steps taken by emergency rooms and doctors’ offices to deal with requests for a coronavirus test?

Where will residents learn whether there are any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in their community?

Where can you find assurance the shelves of stores remain stocked – maybe not with hand sanitizers – but with the essentials needed as people shelter in place?

Where can you learn that the pharmacies remain open to fill prescriptions for those who need medicine?

Where can you read stories on how first responders are protecting themselves while continuing to serve the public?

Where can parents learn what students should be doing to stay current in the classroom?

Where is the latest information released by state and county officials, school officials, the mayor and city council on the local response to a rapidly evolving situation?

Where can families learn where they can go to replace the school lunches their children were receiving?

Where will you find answers to hard questions posed to government officials when flaws in the system become evident?

Where can you find an entertaining feature story for distraction?

Where can you find a bit of lighthearted news to help ease the gloomy crush of news about the pandemic?

Where else but right here in this newspaper and its website?

Our newspaper is your newspaper. Our sole purpose is to serve you and our community as we face a time unlike any other in recent memory. Like you, we want to rise to the occasion and make a significant difference in our future.

It is for this reason all our coverage of COVID-19 and the coronavirus is posted on our web site. Every time we have something new, it gets posted. During this public health crisis, we want our readers to have as much accurate and relevant information as we can provide.

We are a nonpartisan news organization, and our unique corporate structure is designed to maintain our independence. Our company is owned by a nonprofit trust. There are no shareholders, no dividends are paid, and all after-tax profits are reinvested in our journalistic mission.

Many publishers are already ordering layoffs, furloughs, and mandatory pay cuts.  Because we have the advantage of being owned by a nonprofit trust, our company intends to do everything we can to avoid such measures. We believe our communities need us now more than ever. This is no time to hurt our employees, their families, or the communities we serve.

To pay the bills and to underwrite this publication and our journalism, we rely on revenue from business advertising. 

During this time, our advertising revenue is naturally suppressed. We understand decisions certain advertisers have made to cut back, because like them, we are a local business, too, facing the same challenges as everyone else.

But if you’re a business owner, please know that, even in these times, we can affordably and effectively broaden your reach and strengthen your brand, allowing you to engage thousands of local residents, whether in this paper, or through our cutting-edge digital programs.

Frankly, though, this is a time when we seriously need the help of our readers.

First, we would like for all our readers (and advertisers) to tell us what you are doing to cope with this crisis while still supporting your family, friends, employees and the community. We want to tell these stories to others. At this moment, we all need inspiration.

Second, when so many are isolating themselves in their homes, it is more important than ever to strive for community connectivity. That is why we would like for you to support us with letters to the editor and comments for Speak Out Salisbury. Please use our commentary pages as a kind of town square for civil discourse and debate.

Third, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter and urge your family and friends to do so, too.

Finally, if you would like to support our mission and our open access coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, then you can make a direct donation to the newspaper. By going online to our website, you can make a quick and secure donation of $10, $25 or $50 or $100.

Just go to salisburyindependent.net and push the button for Reader Services, then click the “Support Our Mission” link to donate.

As a donor, you get, besides our profound thanks, the satisfaction that you are actively supporting local community journalism and helping to save jobs.

At a time when citizens desperately need accurate information, our newspaper is providing it, and we believe the survival of independent journalism – and especially our brand of purposeful neutrality and straight reporting – is essential to our communities and to democracy itself.

If you agree, we would appreciate your help. Visit salisburyindependent.net to donate.

Take care, stay safe, be well, and keep in touch.

Darel La Prade is publisher of the Salisbury Independent. He can be reached at dlaprade@newszap.com or at 443-235-4704.

As your community newspaper, we are committed to making Salisbury a better place. You can help support our mission by making a voluntary contribution to the newspaper.