Even as people across the country turn in record numbers to their community newspapers for vital news about COVID-19, not to mention the usual fare of stories about local personalities, businesses, government affairs and crime, those newspapers are suffering. With so many businesses closed or operating on reduced schedules, the advertising revenue that sustains local journalism has dried to a trickle.
That puts tremendous pressure on free-distribution papers like the Loudoun Times-Mirror, which are almost entirely dependent on advertising revenue. The current crisis has driven home the fragility of the free-paper business model, and it is now forcing us to make changes to ensure the long-term survival of the Times-Mirror as an outlet for high-quality local reporting.
Beginning this week, we are reducing the frequency with which we deliver the print paper to portions of Loudoun County. Although we will continue to reach about 50,000 households over the course of a month, with 30,000 to 35,000 to be distributed every week, in some areas delivery will be reduced to every other week. On those "off" weeks, we will boost the number of copies we deliver to stores in those neighborhoods, but many readers will lose the convenience of free driveway delivery.
To ensure uninterrupted, convenient home delivery, we encourage Times-Mirror readers to support our award-winning local journalism by subscribing. Please subscribe online at LoudounTimes.com/subscribe or call 703-669-3039 to arrange weekly delivery for just $99 a year.
We know many of our readers appreciate the 24/7 convenience of our website, LoudounTimes.com, where they can read our local reporting updated daily as news happens. Changes are coming there, too. Later this month, we will roll out a metered paywall that will grant casual readers free access to a few articles a month in exchange for registering. After readers hit the free article limit, we will require a subscription. We are still finalizing rates and article limits, but one thing is clear: Print subscriptions will include unlimited online access at no additional charge.
We are honored to have earned the trust of so many people in Loudoun County and beyond, with more than 1.5 million readers through the first five months of 2020 alone. And we are committed to serving the community with credible, reported journalism for the long term. But for us to continue providing the kind of journalism Loudoun deserves, we need reader support. Thank you for considering a subscription today.