We are living through the unprecedented experience of a global pandemic. With COVID-19 canceling social gatherings around the world, we at Queen City Nerve want to do our best to support the well-being of our staff, delivery drivers, loved ones and readers. Since the county has issued an order to cancel or postpone events involving more than 50 people, many Charlotteans will be staying in and limiting their social activities outside of the house.

It was only seven days ago that we told you about The Stranger, the Seattle alt-(bi)weekly that was facing a financial crisis because of the city’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, which shut down concerts, bars, restaurants, and so many other events that provide the advertising fuel for an alt-weekly.

Work from home has been the norm for five months now. Some journalists who were previously accustomed to commuting to the office love this new rhythm. Others deeply miss the office and can't wait to come back.

Last week, in a Q&A about covering losses in the journalism industry, Poynter reporter Kristen Hare observed that the newsroom mergers and consolidations that have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic often use terminology to obscure the full breadth of the loss. “If you lose a newsroom, and everybody in that newsroom has lost their jobs, and that community no longer has a newsroom, it’s closed,” Hare said. “It’s not a ‘merger.’ It’s a loss for the community.” 

It’s the second round of cuts since the nation’s largest newspaper chain announced on March 30 it would be slashing executive pay and instituting one week of furloughs a month through June for staffers making more than $38,000 a year.

We found that the topics people thought were most important for local news to cover were local health updates and information about local entities that provide critical services, such as hospitals, grocery stores, and local government.

When it came to the coverage newsrooms provided, we found that posts about how local government was responding to the virus and how local businesses were responding to or affected by the virus were most common.

Finding a sizable audience has not been a problem for publishers. Hunger for news in a time of crisis has sent droves of readers to many publications. But with businesses paused or closed — and no longer willing or able to pay for advertisements — a crucial part of the industry’s support system has cracked.
But despite the increases in digital traffic, and despite our government recognizing newspapers as one of the many essential businesses that must continue operations during the pandemic, we are suffering losses alongside the rest of the nation as a result of COVID-19.