Q: In what ways have you and your staff had to adjust the way you cover your communities during the coronavirus crisis?
A: Let me start with keeping all our staff safe during this time is our first priority. We ask the reporters to maintain social distancing during interviews and wearing CDC recommended face masks while out and about. We still are out there as much as we safely can be getting the stories that are important to our readership. Fortunately, there is numerous ways to communicate with local businesses and industries for interviews with phone, email and other messaging or social medias. The newsroom has weekly Zoom meetings and setup a Slack channel so they can be in constant communication with each other. Our advertising staff is using Google Duo. Our advertising staff can also access our advertising order entry as well as ad building systems from their home computer to work safely and still be productive.
Q: What are some of the creative ways you’ve come up with to generate advertising revenue during a time when many businesses aren’t open?
A: We are fortunate to have good synergy within Ogden Newspapers that we can share ideas with and find out what successes other papers are having as well as sharing our own. We had an advertising grant program to help our local advertisers extend their reach during this time. We have had several promotions for in home projects for the family as well as supporting our local health care workers. We are really working to help our local advertisers find a solution and path through this to come out the other side strong and still with us.
Q: What has been your primary focus at the newspaper during these unprecedented times?
A: Our focus has been to be the leading news source for our area. Covering the Covid-19 stories and staying current with getting that information out to our community. Using social media, website and our printed product to keep them informed and helping them to stay safe during this crisis. We are looking at how we can keep the newspaper healthy during this time also with the losses in advertising revenues.
Q: Is there anything you’re doing now as a result of COVID-19 that you think you’ll continue after everything gets back to normal?
A: We are learning a lot about the potential for working from home in certain positions. With the usage of these communication ideas within departments it may make those kinds of changes easier for the managers and staff moving forward. This has also allowed us to take a closer to look at our processes and how we can be more efficient within all departments moving forward.
Q: What has been one of the most positive aspects of this crisis for your newspaper?
A: It is hard to find much positive during this crisis, but for us it has been the willingness and exceptional work that our staff has put forward to continue to produce the best publication we can. From our office staff to production they have all kicked in to make this difficult time as positive as possible.
Q: When you look back on this time a few years down the road, what will be most memorable for you?
A: Definitely how an event that we have absolutely no control of can change our lives completely. Hopefully, we would be able to react a bit sooner to get ready. I will also look back at the tremendous support and work from our staff to make it through this.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t asked?
A: We have weathered many crises in the newspaper industry. I believe that like before we will come out of this as a better newspaper. Filling the need of our community with a better focus on what they are looking for. We have a strong ownership that has help lead our newspapers through this with great communication and assistance.