To address the severe and ongoing economic disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are fast-tracking our business plans to expand our news and community services on our many digital outlets, including our main set of websites. This will require us to reduce our labor and other expenses previously committed to print.

We are calling this our “pivot to digital,” and we invite, and encourage, all of our readers and community members to join us in this historical transformation that is taking place at most newspapers in America at this time.

We are relying on our readers to support our work so that we may keep local news alive. Only a community can save its own newspaper.

We are not abandoning print and we are not changing our 131-year-old mission of quality journalism and producing accurate, honest and timely local news. What we are doing is making smart business changes so that we may improve our sustainability, preserve democracy and serve our public for many years to come.

No doubt we’ll hear comments about contributing to the end of the printed newspaper. To that, we must answer that we did not create, nor wish for, this calamity.

All of us have been living in a digital age and world for many years. Even our most loyal newspaper readers spend time every day on smart phones and other digital devices. We have more local news readers today than we’ve ever served. Why? Because we are easy to access on the internet.

Our plan is to make our news even more accessible to more people. We will focus on keeping you informed and better connected to your community and what matters most to you. We will be listening to your requests and suggestions.

We are adding new supporter and sponsorship levels to our basic subscription program. Please consider increasing your level of support. (Find them on our websites.)

We will be reporting on our “digital pivot” in this space for the next four weeks. Watch for updates about our expanded digital programs. This space also will be used to share answers to your antcipated questions.

Local news is a conversation where journalists share everyone’s stories and create community connections. That must never go away.

How to support your essential news source

• Register as a digital news user at our website — www.sonomawest.com.

• Make a $5 weekly or other donation.

• Be an influencer. Please urge others to join our effort.

• Make a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit partner, Sonoma County Local News Initiative. (www.SoCoLocalNews.org)

 — Rollie Atkinson, Sonoma West Publishers

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