Despite dramatic upheaval, our mission remains unwavering.

In the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic has begun spreading across the U.S., a lot has changed. People were asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary and many small businesses were ordered to close. Even those allowed to remain open have struggled and, as a result, have either drastically cut hours or closed their doors temporarily.

Public services have transitioned to online models; local governments and courts are meeting virtually; essential services never stopped; and healthcare workers are working around the clock to take care of patients afflicted with COVID-19.

Through all of these changes, readers have turned to The Outlook and Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. news sources to stay informed. As information about the virus and its local effect changes almost daily, our news team has worked hard to deliver trusted, accurate informationas quickly as it develops. From more somber news as confirmed cases increase to heartwarming stories of residents taking care of their neighbors, we have continued to serve you.

As we shift our print cycle to two days per week, readers should not expect any change in the amount of information shared. Our commitment to telling the news, as it happens, remains our priority; all that changes is the medium and cycle in which we share it.

Over the next weeks and months, we will be gradually increasing the amount of news, information, features, photos, videos and interactive items on our website and through social media. The changeover will be a work in progress as we learn how to master our new venue. But we want to assure our readers we are committed to bringing you a robust and dynamic product both online and in print.

Reducing the frequency of the printed newspaper was a necessary response to decreased advertising as businesses face increased challenges and the sale of fewer single copy newspapers as people stayed home. Meanwhile, traffic to our website has never been better. From the safety of their homes, residents are reading the news online now more than ever, tracking live updates, breaking news and powerful features and the good work being done locally. This, coupled with the decreased revenue, led to the difficult decision to shift our efforts and decrease the number of printed newspapers published per week. But our efforts to deliver the news will only increase from here on out.

The Outlook is not alone. At last count midweek, more than 1,000 newspapers in this country had reduced their print publication days, terminated or furloughed employees, cut employee compensation or some combination of all. We chose reduced print frequency as a strategy for keeping our journalists employed and compensated and serving you around the clock at alexcityoutlook.com.

The best communities in which to live have strong local newspapers. We aren’t ashamed to admit we need your support in order to continue delivering you the news you rely on. Our dedication to you isn’t going anywhere, and we hope your support isn’t either.

We understand loyal print subscribers may be saddened by this change, but we assure you the amount of content you receive will not decline. The remaining print publications will be robust, packed full of all the features our readers love — and even more.

We are all navigating uncharted territory, adapting to changes every day while working to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. To get through these uncertain times, we must focus on coming together and moving forward. At Tallapoosa Publishers Inc., we know our role in that mission is to continue telling your stories and providing information as quickly as it is available.

Like so much else in our lives, the way in which we share these stories will be different than before the pandemic. Through these changes, our commitment remains to informing our readers, and we will continue to be your trusted source for local news. 

I’ll do my best to address your pressing questions here.

Will my subscription price change? 

No, but your subscription includes 24/7 access to local news at alexcityoutlook.com. Our digital subscription is included in the print subscription price, so you will see our expanded online efforts that will continue to drive the value you deserve. This will include the everyday local news you are used to as well as unique storytelling through videos, photos and more. Our news team is going to be even more dedicated than ever to delivering you all the news happening in your community when you need it. We want to reward our subscribers — longtime and new — by continuing to deliver you the best product possible.

Is the change permanent? 

This was an urgent and direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related shutdown of the local economy. On the other side of this economic crisis, we will reevaluate the way we serve you in print. All along the way, we will work harder than ever to serve you online. It’s impossible to know at this time the shape and length of the economic recovery. In short, we will be adaptive.

Have you sought government or other external support? 

Our application was among the first submitted for the Payroll Protection Program, part of the most recent federal stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump. The program consists of forgivable loans to keep small businesses afloat and employees on the payroll. Like hundreds of thousands of other small businesses in this country, we did receive help, but that is now expiring. 

Thank you for continuing to support your local newspaper.

Steve Baker is the CEO, president and publisher at Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. He can be reached by phone at 256-414-3190 or by email at steve.baker@alexcityoutlook.com.