THIS WEEK, The Wokingham Paper turns five.
Instead of celebrating our anniversary, we are publishing a newspaper that is reduced in size as the impact of the coronavirus is felt.
It is just a few weeks since we reported on Willow Bank infant school having to close to allow staff to self-isolate. Now, all our schools, libraries and leisure centres are shut and many of our businesses have sent staff home.
These are exceptional times.
Over the past few weeks, we have been working around the clock to bring you the latest news as it unfolds. But we’re a hyperlocal newspaper and have no backing other than you, our trusted readers and advertisers.
Thank you for your support.
And as we publish on our fifth anniversary, our commitment to you is stronger than ever.
As key workers in your community, we need to continue providing essential, verified and trusted information to help you make sense of what is going on, but we need urgent intervention by the government.
Local news is under threat as a result of the coronavirus and unless emergency funding can be secured to support small news publishers at this time, communities across the UK will lose their independent press at a time when they need it most.
Yesterday, Emma Meese, director of the Independent Community News Network (ICNN) published an open letter.
All members published it, including The Wokingham Paper. You can read it here.
The group is to lobby government and third-party organisations to provide urgent financial assistance to members of ICNN – without it, we might not survive.
In our first issue, I urged you all to realise just how precious local news is.
In a vacuum – or on social media – fake news can quickly spread.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we will continue to publish, albeit in a reduced form, your favourite local newspaper. For those that can’t get to the shops, we will publish a digital version.
But now, more than ever, we need your support – the best way to do that is to commit to buying The Wokingham Paper each week.
Why not ask your local newsagent to deliver?