PENNSYLVANIA'S #1 WEEKLY NEWSPAPER • locally owned since 1854

The Press & Journal needs your financial help to survive, and we need it now; here's how to donate

The Press & Journal has been publishing since 1866.
The Press & Journal has been publishing since 1866.
Posted

An open letter from Joe and Louise Sukle, owners and publishers of the Press & Journal:

These are some of the most difficult words we have had to publish in our years owning this newspaper, because the very future of our company is in jeopardy.

We realize many of you are struggling with the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We realize that many small businesses in our community are facing extreme challenges to keep doors open, or to re-open when restrictions are lifted.

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We are one of those businesses. For 166 years, this newspaper has covered countless life-changing events in southern Dauphin County. Without your financial support, and in short order, that will come to an end.

Middletown’s oldest business needs your help. We are seeking donations to help us through this scary and unprecedented time. If you are not a subscriber, we implore you to sign up with us today. We’re asking organizations and businesses to advertise when they are able. Your financial support means we can keep writing and publishing.

We are humbled that we have to make this request, and we do not relish doing it. However, if you value local journalism, if you value what we do, even if you don’t always agree with us, this is the time to show your support with a contribution.

We need you. And we need you now.

Before the mandated non-essential business closings, our advertising revenue typically accounted for 60 to 90 percent of our print papers’ total revenue. We cover local events and businesses, and that’s who we depend on for revenue. In less than one week, that revenue was cut in half and continues to decline as events are canceled and more businesses cease operations, at least temporarily.

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But amid the decline in advertising dollars, our overall readership between the newspaper and our website has almost tripled. It spotlights the value of a local newspaper, hanging on in times of both community crisis and its own financial insecurity. You are turning to us in record numbers to make sense of the situation and steer you toward the help you need.

The Press & Journal has been with you through tough times, but nothing can compare to what we are experiencing now. We’re working hard to keep you informed and to promote your local businesses, but we can’t continue without your help. We say again: It’s difficult to ask for help when so many are in need, but delivering accurate local information has never been so critical.

Those of us in central Pennsylvania can’t control the stock market or the tragedy in Italy. But we can choose to help each other. Support each other. We need that desperately, now more than ever before.

We can choose to fight the spread of the coronavirus by listening to the experts. Follow their advice about social distancing and sanitizing. We can choose to keep each other safe.

There are many local businesses that really need us during this unprecedented time. Many that are open are listed on page 2 of the March 25 print edition. Other businesses that have been forced to close offer words of hope. We are very grateful to them in their expressions of confidence and grit against seemingly insurmountable odds.

If you feel you can, volunteer. Help out at Red Cross or the food bank while practicing social distancing.

Worship however you can despite the challenges it presents at the moment. Read this story to see how some local churches are trying to worship during these challenging times. The Church Directory on page 3 of today's print edition will give you contact information and guidance to audio and live streaming available through some churches.

This is not the end of the world. We are a community that has survived disasters. But what kind of world will we have when this is over? We must have local businesses when we come out the other side of this. Supporting local businesses to the best of our ability now, during this crisis, will help our neighbors and our towns to recover as quickly as possible.

We are all scared … scared of the virus itself, scared of what it’s doing to our economy, scared that our government will be unable to set aside partisan politics to protect its citizens, both medically and financially.

In our more than four decades at the Press & Journal, there’s only one event that could ever come close to covering the experience we’re facing today, and that’s the 1979 disaster at Three Mile Island.

For those of you who lived here at the time, the chaos brought on by the lack of credible information in the hours and days following the incident fueled widespread fear and anger. It was unsettling … and frightening.

Without question, the local economy during the TMI crisis didn’t suffer the unprecedented impact that is being felt due to COVID-19.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 717-944-4628, or by email at joesukle@pressandjournal.com or louisesukle@pressandjournal.com.

With your continued support, the Press & Journal will be a central figure in helping the Middletown community and its businesses to recover.

Thank you.