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Column: Join us in 2021 as we work to build community
Shannon Casas
Shannon Casas

We’ve survived 2020. That was no small feat.

I mean we as in the newspaper — The Times has survived where some others didn’t. The effects of COVID-19 claimed some 60 newspapers across the country, according to Poynter, a leader in the journalism industry.

When newspapers close, “communities lose transparency and accountability” and “research shows that taxes go up and voter participation goes down,” according to research quoted in the Poynter article.

Of course, newspapers were closing before COVID, but the pandemic sped up the demise of some and, as you likely know, forced major changes at The Times.

The industry was traditionally supported by print advertising in an age before the internet and social media. It’s still an important source of revenue for us and an effective means of communicating a businesses’ message, but much has changed in the industry. 

Our delivery methods this year changed drastically, and we said goodbye to some good folks. But our commitment to serving this community remains, and those changes made that possible.

Today, we rely more and more on our subscribers’ support to continue our service. That support this year has kept us going, both financially and on a more personal level.

It’s been a rough year for all of us, and a kind word like “your coverage of so many challenging stories has been excellent” does more than you know.

Many of you filled out surveys for us, which provided us useful information but also, one of you just wrote there, “Shannon is amazing!!” I will take it. Thank you. I’ve got a note on my desk from someone else calling for my resignation, so if y’all could just get together and decide I’m half-way decent, that’d also be OK.

In any case, our relationship with our community and especially those supporting our work is important to us and something we want to work on in 2021.

So, subscribers, we’d like to invite you to join us for weekly conversations about what’s going on in our newsroom and our community. 

Inside The Times

What: Weekly conversation with Times staff and other subscribers

When: Noon Mondays beginning Jan. 25

Where: Zoom, email scasas@gainesvilletimes.com for invitation information

Starting Jan. 25, we’ll be meeting at noon Mondays on Zoom. While we can’t bring you inside The Times for tours, like we have done in recent years, we hope you’ll find this time valuable and enlightening. And I’m sure we will learn much from you all. 

I’ll be there, and we’ll have others in the newsroom join on a regular basis as well as those from other departments in the building. If you have any questions you’d like us to address about news-making decisions or other parts of our business, go ahead and send them along to me. 

We’ll be continuing Zoom webinar events this year as well, but expect this event to be more like meeting up for lunch. Unlike with our webinars, this time around we’ll be able to see your faces and talk about local news.

Along with this weekly event will be a weekly email newsletter for subscribers, where we’ll talk about what’s going on in our newsroom, what we’re working on and share some of the columns and articles we know our subscribers have enjoyed or we feel are especially important.

If you are a subscriber and we have your email on file, you’ll begin getting this newsletter in late January. As with any of our newsletters, you can unsubscribe at the bottom if you’re not interested. Of course I hope you will be, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from you all.

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a North Hall resident. 

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