Opening email is seldom a pleasant experience.
There are so many companies that barrage us with ideas about how they can help us move through the current crisis. So many messages that tell us we should connect with a webinar designed to make life better. So many offers to sell us something.
But this week there was an email from someone at Google saying that the Milton Times will receive $5,000 from Google News Initiative’s Journalism Emergency Fund, JERF.
It was like opening a smile. Joy is discovering our work is valued.
This has been a time of wilting spring flowers and far too much pressure to do the right thing, when the right thing changes from day to day and hour to hour.
What will $5,000 do for a small newspaper in a community of more than 27,000 people?
Well, we promised we would dedicate the Google money to publication of stories of kindness and heroism.
And so we shall. We already know there is much kindness in Milton.
Last week a story about the Burke family and the hand sanitizer they were selling to raise money for the Milton Food Pantry helped relieve the anxiety that has been following all the stories about COVID-19.
The generosity and spirit of this community has been a key factor in the success of this newspaper from our start in 1995 to the present.
Our newspaper has used a tagline for many years “Product of a Caring Community.”
In this time when a plague walks through our community that tagline sums up the work done by our staff.
When our staff gathers on Zoom this week we will begin addressing exactly how this project will be implemented.
Google received more than 12,000 applications from organizations in more than 100 countries.
The Milton Times was selected in the first wave of announcements.
“It has been humbling and gratifying to help support local news organizations like you,” the Google News Initiative team said in the email.
Humbling and gratifying are words that resonate strongly.
Our small staff is indeed gratified to be acknowledged in the larger world.
During this health crisis, our office has remained open although our hours have changed. Most of the staff have been working from their homes for more than two months now. And yet the newspaper continues to be printed on time.
While our advertising base has significantly declined as so many businesses have been forced to stop regular operation, we have seen support from our readers grow.
There are many changes happening these days in our community. We are adapting as quickly as we can to change the way we do business.
We are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. We are still creating new ways of connecting with the staff. For the present time, email is best.
Lisa Connell, our hardworking editor, can be found in the office. But the best way to send her a story is to email firstname.lastname@example.org. It is up to Lisa to assign stories and find space for them in the paper. Although she is limited by the advertising planned for the week’s issue, we could be changing the advertising percentage as readership grows.
Nadine Leary, advertising coordinator, can be emailed at email@example.com. You probably cannot easily reach her by phone since she no longer comes to the office.
We are in the process of moving from a location on Boulevard Street to a second floor office at 372 Granite Avenue. That move will happen during the month of June.
Milton Times publisher