This week’s Triad City Beat is the smallest paper I’ve ever made, and I’ve made hundreds of them.
Eight pages is what we’ve got left after stripping away all the ads for events that have been canceled, for restaurants trying to figure out new business models, for businesses that have outright shut down for the pandemic.
We’ve still got plenty of content — we’re posting every day at triad-city-beat.com, including a daily coronavirus update and lots of other stories that will not make it into print, not this week. Nor the next.
The truth: We barely have enough advertising to support a print product. And even if we were to make one, would there be anyone out there to pick it up? Everyone’s supposed to stay home, remember, and not a lot of people are open to picking up stuff on the street and bringing it into their homes.
We certainly cannot guarantee the pickup rate to which our advertisers have become accustomed. And in that way, distributing a paper throughout this crisis would be a kind of fraud.
Ironically, more than ever people need — and want — the kind of clear, honest and timely reporting for which Triad City Beat has become known.
And so, the mission continues.
Our reporters are out there right now, trying to find the stories inside this one big event that has very quickly encompassed every aspect of our existence. We’ll be posting news as it happens on the site, along with most of our regular features throughout the week and our daily update, which should have links to everything.
Remember, we’ve been training for this our entire professional lives. Triad City Beat was made for times like this.
We’ve been running a robust digital advertising platform for years (email me for details!), and our website — hosted on a private server — is fast and clean on any screen. The site allows us to link source documents, make corrections in real time, engage in comment threads and find other ways to increase transparency and trust among our readership — our most important asset.
And it lets us keep the information flowing, which is really the whole point.
Thanks for sticking around. We’ll be back with a print edition in the by and by. For now, I’ll see you online.
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.
Hang in there. We need different voices and we need print.