Like everyone else, the staff at Illinois Times has been impacted by the coronavirus crisis. While we've all stayed healthy so far, we have family members and friends who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Our business, like so many others, has suffered a significant financial blow as a result of the pandemic. However, unlike the many companies who have been forced to close as part of the statewide shutdown, we are considered an essential service and we continue to publish. In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever that we continue to work for our readers and advertisers as our community collectively struggles to cope with this new reality.
In the past month, Illinois Times has been busier than ever:
• Our staff writers, Bruce Rushton and Rachel Otwell, have published more than 30 stories on the local impact of COVID-19. They've talked to small businesses, hospitals and nursing homes, nonprofits, artists and more to find out about the effects of the pandemic in the Springfield area.
• In addition, our writers are adding daily to a blog called the Coronavirus Chronicles and updating a Coronavirus Resource Guide, both featured prominently on our website. While we're a weekly paper, we post plenty of breaking news and have added new content every day for the last several weeks.
• We are emailing In Case You Missed IT newsletters every Friday and Monday with roundups of the week's top stories and online events. Sign up for the weekly e-newsletters
• Speaking of events, our calendar editor, Stacie Lewis, has transitioned our popular events and live music listings to virtual events and online resources. Submissions can still be sent to email@example.com.
• Music columnist Tom Irwin and film reviewer Chuck Koplinski are both still writing their weekly columns, but now focusing on music and films that you can watch at home.
• Our marketing team is working with our advertisers to tweak their messages to let potential customers know how they've modified their operations.
• We've compiled an online directory of local restaurants offering takeout, delivery and curbside pickup.
• Our drivers have continued to deliver print editions of Illinois Times each week to locations that are still open to public access: grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, hardware stores, liquor stores and more.
• We've rolled out a subscription program that allows you to receive first-class delivery of the IT print edition to your home or office for the next 13 weeks. Visit illinoistimes.com/subscribe for details.
There is no substitute for trusted, local independent journalism. What has changed about our staff of 14 employees is that most of them are now working remotely, and we've had to get more creative about how we share the news with our readers.
How you spend your money matters, and supporting local businesses is the best way to help support and preserve our community.
- Michelle Ownbey, publisher