A word from the publisher

Many of our loyal readers have not gotten the ECA Review in their mailboxes over the last three weeks.

We’ve encouraged all to go to our website but we know many areas have either no or at best spotty access to broadband.

Our elderly populations and even younger readers still love the feel of newsprint in their hands.

There are many who have chosen to subscribe with a ‘symbolic’ subscription and we sincerely thank you.

A ‘symbolic’ subscription allows you to continue receiving an addressed issue when free newspaper distribution has ceased in your area.

We can’t thank you enough for your support and words of encouragement to keep us going through these tough times!

It’s been a roller coaster ride!

One day I’m at the bottom of the ride, looking to lay off more staff.

Then our Prime Minister announces a wage subsidy and the roller coaster climbs upward only to descend again when that help is weeks away.

Yesterday, a small light at the end of the tunnel, as forms are supposed to be online Thursday for wage subsidies!

Fingers crossed!

Of course, this story isn’t just about the Review, it’s about all small and medium-sized businesses trying to survive the pandemic.

It shows the character and importance of local businesses and our ability to work hard, brainstorm, innovate and survive, but we couldn’t do it without you, our community.

It is both heart-warming and encouraging for myself and my staff to see the support that has come our way.

Thanks to our ‘symbolic’ subscribers.

Thanks to the 16 businesses who are supporting the Kid’s Scoop; activities for young people as they struggle with no school and absent friends.

These are our local businesses and people who support many other activities in our communities, i.e. sports, cancer walks, libraries, etc. and make our small communities a great place to live.

They, too, need your support today.

Thanks to the Village of Alix and the Stettler Board of Trade who both donated $1,000 to help their local businesses continue advertising their hours and services during the pandemic, an idea spawned by the High Level, Alta. town administrator.

Thanks to Stettler County and others for their ramped up advertising.

Thanks to the Paintearth Economic Partnership Society who are helping small businesses, including the Review, to find grant dollars.

Editors and reporters of community newspapers are a critical and important element of the Canadian media ecosystem.

Our mission to cover communities in east central Alberta, to inform and to keep our citizens safe has never been more crucial.

Our reporters are front-line, essential responders and I thank them for their dedication through this pandemic.

The nation’s 700 plus non-daily community newspapers have been hit hard as the global economy shudders to a halt and advertising and flyer inserts evaporates.

The Review has reduced how many papers are printed weekly and reluctantly laid off staff on a temporary basis to try to survive. Flyer revenue has dropped 75 per cent.

We are still on the roller coaster ride, but be assured my staff and I are going to do everything possible to hang on and hopefully get back to our normal distribution soon.

Joyce Webster, Publisher

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