As the human and economic impact of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis ripples across our state and nation, VTDigger has experienced and anticipates a further steep decline in underwriting and philanthropic support that has allowed us to deliver on our mission to inform the public on the issues of the day.
In response, VTDigger is forced to act swiftly to minimize harm and protect the overall integrity of our news operation.
The Vermont Journalism Trust board has directed budget reductions of 21%, or $514,000, in the face of the grim economic reality we all face in the months ahead.
It is with great regret that we are forced to lay off three of VTDigger’s staff of 29: one part-time employee in our newsroom, and one full-time employee and one part-time employee in our business office. Each one of these employees has made a significant contribution to the success of VTDigger, and we are grateful for their commitment to our nonprofit mission.
These cuts are necessary to preserve VTDigger’s journalism at a time when it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last and when the economy will begin to recover.
In spite of this uncertainty, the Vermont Journalism Trust board and the VTDigger staff remain steadfast in our deep commitment to you, our readers.
Over the past three weeks, VTDigger reporters and editors have covered every facet of the COVID-19 crisis as the pandemic has spread in Vermont, heroically publishing a 24/7 liveblog, livestream video of press conferences, and nearly 300 stories. Readership has hit record high levels of about 400,000 readers each week — the number we typically see in a month.
VTDigger is underwritten by:
In response, we have seen an increase in membership contributions, and with that continued support, VTDigger can hopefully remain strong in the months to come. Now, more than ever before, VTDigger’s nonprofit operations need the support of our Vermont community and every donation is critical to our ability to continue to provide this service to our readers. If you are able, please consider a donation to VTDigger to help us continue our reporting in these perilous times.
It is painful to make these difficult choices, but there is solidarity in knowing every business in the state is making similar choices as we face the greatest challenge to our way of life in generations.
While our reporting in the community is essential during this crisis, our sacrifices pale by comparison with those made by health care providers and other front-line workers.
Together, as a state, I believe we will come through this crisis stronger, and more committed to the values of community and integrity that make Vermont a special place. It is in that spirit we here at VTDigger remain committed to covering every aspect of this unprecedented time in our history.
Founder and editor of VTDigger.org
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