As we navigate through the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis together, we want to provide context for the decisions we’re making.
As publisher and owner of the Reporter, at the beginning of March I learned an employee was sick with pneumonia and had been admitted to Eastern Long Island Hospital/Stony Brook.
The next part was very concerning. Our employee had a high fever and was having difficulty breathing. The person was in isolation at ELIH and would be tested for coronavirus.
We immediately had to ensure our employee’s privacy, while communicating to our other employees the situation without having a confirmed coronavirus test result so they could protect themselves, their families and the community.
We also had websites to run, a magazine going to press, and the Reporter, Suffolk Times and Riverhead News-Review all on deadline.
Several things helped us. The first is we have an incredibly talented and dedicated staff. I would stack our team up against any other publishing company anywhere in the country. We have a strong management team in place that has worked together for close to a decade.
We also have strong technology solutions in place, which would allow us to work remotely so that staff could self-quarantine and still publish. We had never stress-tested this capability, but we had the right structures in place.
Over the last several years, our team had fully embraced multi-channel publishing. We are focused on producing award-winning community newspapers while also distributing this content digitally on our websites, social media channels, videos and podcasts.
To accomplish this goal, I made the difficult decision to consolidate our Shelter Island office into Mattituck last September. This allowed us to share valuable resources, redesign our websites and train all staff together as one team. We launched our redesigned sites on January 6, which were built to be flexible and visually driven from a content and advertiser perspective.
This has led to a steady increase in new digital advertisers and digital subscriptions, which is strengthening our business.
Fast forward to today: Due to the virus we proactively reduced our staffing levels for the Reporter and across the company. This was a painful decision, but was made to make sure we remain solvent as a business, while emerging stronger after the pandemic subsides. Our staff is healthy, working remotely, and we are gaining new subscribers and advertisers every day.
I’m incredibly proud, along with our team led by editor Ambrose Clancy, to publish the Shelter Island Reporter. I hope this helps you better understand the decisions that have been made. I’m confident we will emerge stronger as a community.
My direct dial is 631-354-8031 and my email is [email protected] to reach out to me.