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Letter from the editor: Time is right for 'Tiser to grow

Letter from the editor: Time is right for 'Tiser to grow

Shops have reopened, gyms are back in business, sport is on the television and publicans are pulling pints again.

The lockdown continues to ease and many of the freedoms we have missed over the past four months are available to us once more.

But coronavirus remains a constant threat and our lives are far from back to normal. So where do we go from here?

It is a question many of us, including the team at the Advertiser, have been asking as we cautiously learn to live with this terrible virus.

This edition of the ’Tiser is the 19th we have produced since we shut our offices and moved to home working.

What once seemed impossible has now become routine and I could not be prouder of the team for what they have achieved in incredibly challenging circumstances.

The financial impact of the pandemic on the entire newspaper industry has been stark. Publications large and small have suffered after the advertising industry – our main source of income – collapsed.

At the Advertiser, we had to take action to protect the future of the business.

Staff were furloughed, savings were made and, yes, the newspaper was reduced in size.

But we took extraordinary steps to keep people informed during the peak, introducing an optional ‘pay if you can’ feature for our paid online articles and making the entire newspaper free to read on our website.

Many of our readers have remained supportive of the ’Tiser throughout this crisis, understanding the challenges we face and the amount of work that is being put in to keep bringing you the news when our role as journalists is of the utmost importance.

I thank you for this support. It has kept us going.

I know some readers have been disappointed by the size of the newspaper, but please be reassured that nobody wants to see the Advertiser grow more than us.

COVID-19 has not gone away and the financial situation remains challenging but, as businesses reopen and begin to advertise again, the time is right to work towards that goal.

Over the coming months, we intend to slowly increase the Advertiser’s size and bring back furloughed staff to boost our news output.

It will not happen overnight, and it must be sustainable, but we remain hopeful the ’Tiser can grow once again.

Good quality news coverage takes time and money to produce, and reader support is vital now and in the months ahead.

To help realise our ambitions, we will be returning to our previous system of charging for the premium articles on our website from next week.

Using the Axate payment system, just 20p will get you a full day’s reading of the best of local news online.

We will also be phasing out the free online edition of the newspaper over the coming weeks as we look to grow and pack your weekly paper with news, sport and entertainment.

This may not be popular with everyone, but news is not free to produce and financial sustainability is essential for growth.

Don’t forget, at least 80 per cent of our profits go back into the community through the Louis Baylis Trust and every time you buy a newspaper or pay for an article online you are supporting trusted journalism.

Thank you.

James Preston

Editor

Baylis Media Ltd

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