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Norb Garrett

By Norb Garrett, owner and publisher of Picket Fence Media

As we enter Week One of the new three-week “stay-at-home order” imposed by Gov. Newsom, a return to “normal” seems further and further away from reality.

Even with the promise of new vaccines to help combat COVID-19, the reality of the shutdown and its dramatic negative impacts on families, businesses—both big and small—the service economy and just about everyone, short of Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, is both palpable and daunting.

All of us here at Picket Fence Media are working hard to continue to keep our communities informed and moving forward. Despite seeing a short period of “recovery” in September and October, our local businesses are again reeling from the impacts of government-mandated regulations.

Closures are hitting close to home: Just two weeks ago, I learned that our printer of 15 years was shutting down, leaving us scrambling to find a new printer before the holidays. To date, COVID-19 has caused the closure of more than 20 community newspapers in California, and we’re hell-bent not to join that list.

This week, we’ve launched a new initiative seeking monthly or annual support from you, our readers, to ensure we can survive and continue to provide critical local news during this crisis and into the future.

Our new campaign asks readers to commit to a monthly or annual “Insider” membership to help us offset advertising revenue shortfalls. During the summer, more than 400 readers voluntarily stepped up to support for our efforts, which was hugely helpful and appreciated.

As we enter 2021, we know we will need at least 4,000 total “Insiders” from our communities to help us keep our content free and accessible to the more than 100,000 digital readers and 40,000 print readers we reach.

With that support, we’ll be able to keep our hard-working staff focused on delivering the only original, hyper-local content in San Clemente, Dana Point, Capistrano Beach, San Juan Capistrano and Rancho Mission Viejo.

Aside from helping keep our business alive, “Insiders” also will receive exclusive monthly “Insider Deals” and other perks.

More than ever, “You Need Us, We Need You.” Please go online today at sanclementetimes.com/insider and make your investment in award-winning local journalism and, ultimately, in your community.

Together, we can get through this. Thank you for your continued support!

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