DOORS CLOSING FOR SOME, LAYOFFS FOR OTHERS
The Wuhan coronavirus is taking its toll on newspapers across the Pacific Northwest, from the largest to the smallest, and from Seattle to Girdwood.
Alaska’s largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, just wrote that since ” a sudden plunge in advertising and event revenue over the past month, we’ve had to temporarily cut back hours and pay for all employees, along with some painful layoffs. This cost-cutting is aimed at the continuing viability and sustainability of the organization.”
The parent company of the Juneau Empire has closed newspapers and announced layoffs across the Pacific Northwest, where the company has numerous small-town newspapers. According to a report in The Seattle Times, six part-time reporters are responsible for producing Sound Publishing’s 11 Seattle-area papers, including the Renton Reporter and Federal Way Mirror. And the company stopped printing nine of its 13 free weeklies. Those left on staff are working reduced hours, the paper reported.
In Girdwood, Alaska, the tiny but deeply community-focused Glacier City Gazette went to an all-digital edition earlier this year. But when COVID-19 shut down the upcoming tourism season, Publisher and Editor Marc Donadieu said that without advertising, he can’t continue. He put the newspaper to sleep on March 19, saying he didn’t know if it would be something he could revive later on.
“After fours years of publishing GCG, I took a short hiatus to recharge. I was taking steps to resume publishing GCG online, but now it is on indefinite hiatus. The Corvid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the advertising climate in a town dependent on tourism. Ads are the first thing to go, and without enough of them, I cannot pay my staff or myself,” Donadieu wrote.
“Who knows how long the pandemic will last and what its effects will be? Who knows how long and deep the inevitable recession will be? I don’t have any answers about GCG at this point or what I’ll be doing in the future. We’ll see what happens.”
At a time when nearly all businesses in Alaska are reeling from the economic body slam of the pandemic, the Glacier City Gazette, which supported a half-dozen writers and photographers, is the poster child for how the Wuhan virus has impacted many small mom-and-pop businesses far from the epicenter of uncertainty caused by COVID-19.new