Opinion

A letter from your local paper

By Riverine Herald

THE hardest thing for all of us to deal with today is not really knowing what is going to happen tomorrow.

This pandemic has become the crisis, not just of this century, but of generations.

It is not war, it is nowhere near as bloody, but COVID-19 has achieved something neither world war did—it has impacted every continent, every country, every town and every home.

For the first time in our history every country on earth, every person on earth, is working towards the same goal.

Just a few weeks ago none of us could have, would have, imagined a world in which eating dinner at a restaurant, playing a game of footy, or hugging a good friend, would seem a distant memory.

There is so much today that is out of our control, including work, finances, shopping, socialising and travel.

We are struggling to participate in those very rituals that help us cope.

Family holidays, a visit to the gym, celebrating a birthday and sharing public spaces.

COVID-19 is carving a path of destruction around the world and keeping our community safe and alive is the number one priority, so please follow the government’s advice regarding COVID-19 by visiting dhhs.vic.gov.au for regular updates.

Here in Echuca-Moama the stakes are high, and we can’t afford to go into our shells.

As well as a health crisis, COVID-19 has created an unprecedented economic crisis, which is deeply affecting every aspect of life.

The Riverine Herald is as aware as all of you that money is tight and some individuals, including our own staff , have already been stood down.

Many businesses, including ours, are struggling to keep their heads above water. But we cannot afford to turn off the tap, not now, not in this hour of need.

We must keep spending what we can in the local economy because that money is spent with the next business and the next one and the next one, which has a positive multiplier effect, which is critical to getting our community and our economy through this emergency, and to ensure we have a stronger and better future.

Our readership, in print and online, has soared during this crisis as people look to us for the real news, trusted news.

We also understand businesses are feeling the full impact of the economic downturn and the Riverine Herald is here to help because we need each other.

The Riverine Herald is committed to keeping you all informed with the latest news—good and bad—and provide the information you need to keep connected.

From making all this information free on our digital sites through to advertising relief packages for all our clients, so every part of our community gets seen and heard as more and more of us go into isolation.

Already the Riverine Herald is being mostly produced remotely, with our staff in homes scattered across northern Victoria.

Those businesses that keep their message going and keep advertising will be the first to recover.

Without a local paper, and that is a genuine risk in this crisis, the community will be worse off.

Already local papers have been shut down across the country.

This week Newscorp, Australia’s biggest publisher, shut down 60 papers in one day.

I doubt many of them will ever come back, leaving their communities without a voice.

All of us at the Riverine Herald cannot thank our readers enough for their ongoing and loyal support.

Our journalists, who are doing a fantastic job getting the news out under challenging conditions, are also under the same significant economic pressure which has hit us all.

The best thing you can do right now is buy a paper, or continue buying the paper.

Or sign up for a digital subscription, to ensure we are here tomorrow and the next day, the next year and for the next 100 years, doing what we love doing—keeping you informed about your community and giving you a voice whenever it is needed.

Having a local newspaper means you get accurate, trustworthy news and this has never been more important than it is right now.

Please take care of yourselves, your families and friends, your neighbours and anyone in our community who is vulnerable.

Please do everything the experts advise to help control the spread of COVID-19.

Please work together so we all come through this healthy and ready to begin the rebuilding that lies ahead.

And we will keep providing you with the updates you will need.