How we’re serving communities in time of crisis

To our valued readers:

The spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has quickly developed into one of the most significant events in our nation’s history. People from all walks of life are struggling to adapt to the situation.

You have likely been inundated with updates from various CEOs and organizational leaders. With apologies for the lack of originality, I would like to share what Shaw Media is doing to help cope with the crisis.

A few weeks ago, when it was becoming apparent that we were dealing with a burgeoning crisis, Shaw’s leadership team began working on a contingency plan.

The plan was developed with four goals in mind:

1) Protect the well-being of our employees

2) Do our part to limit the spread of the virus

3) Ensure the continuity of our business

4) Provide reliable information about the virus to our readers

We shared CDC guidelines with our employees and informed them that they would be paid for time off caused by the virus, even if they had run out of paid sick leave. We put together a work-from-home strategy, and required all employees who could work from home to do just that.

We have temporarily closed our offices to the public, with a reduced number of staff continuing to work in some of our locations. As you may have heard or read, newspapers have been designated as essential businesses by most local governments, meaning employees will be allowed to travel to and from work even in a shelter-in-place situation.

In addition to heroes in health care, law enforcement and other services, our journalists and newspaper delivery crews also are unsung heroes during these times. They are working diligently to make sure the news is delivered to you in print and digital formats.

For the continuity of our business, we have implemented strategies to ensure we can maintain our ability to report on significant events, even though much of the reporting and processing of the news has to be done from remote locations.

Unfortunately, our company, like so many other small to mid-sized local businesses, is bracing for an economic impact. A significant portion of our revenue stems from advertising, and businesses generally don’t advertise when they are closed. This temporary reduction in revenue will place great stress on our company. We will do everything possible to keep our service to you uninterrupted.

Our news teams are doing yeoman’s work providing accurate and valuable information. In times like these, Shaw Media is most valuable to the communities we serve. Unfortunately, crisis situations can breed misinformation — and misinformation can create confusion and anxiety. We encourage you, your friends, and your family to turn to our digital and print publications for the most timely and accurate local information regarding COVID-19.

We are providing all online information regarding the virus free to the public. Shaw Media is in a position to offer this service because of our paying subscribers. We thank you for your invaluable support. If you are not a subscriber, we hope you will consider — now or in the future — supporting local journalism in your community.

Please stay safe. Be patient. Be kind. We can all get through this, if we come together — as we remain an appropriate distance apart, of course.

• John Rung is the President and CEO of Shaw Media.