If anything, this pandemic has starkly defined how much we value and depend upon connecting with each other.
We see it when visits to elderly friends and family are not recommended, and even impossible if they are in a nursing home or hospital. We see it when our future generations are being robbed of time with their friends and the experience of education from preschool through college.
Technology has helped fill the gaps. The phone, emails, social media, Skype, Zoom, FaceTime and other platforms enable us to communicate. The U.S. Postal Service is also there for us – we still send and get letters.
We bring this up because we ask, how do you get your news?
Indeed, there are many choices – television, radio, the internet and newspapers. Newspapers have been a bedrock of information for centuries. In many of our lifetimes, newspapers have changed dramatically.
When Southern Rhode Island Publications, later to become Beacon Communications, bought the Warwick Beacon in 1969, the city was covered by two metropolitan dailies, the afternoon Bulletin and the morning Providence Journal that, although owned by the same company, had separate staffs. Today, the Beacon is the only newspaper with a staff devoted entirely to covering Warwick.
In addition to the newspaper, the Beacon has offered an online edition – warwickonline.com – for the last 20 years. With the exception of notices such as the cancellation of school because of a snow storm, the content of the web is what is in the newspaper. Traditionally the online version of the Beacon is uploaded after the hard copy of the paper is published.
That is changing and will continue to change.
Daily updates on COVID-19 are posted to the website. The website also carries features such as videos and podcasts that are not possible in the newspaper.
Starting next week, we will commence charging non-subscribers to the paper to access the website. Subscriptions to the website only are $4 a month. Subscriptions to the paper are also $5 a month, or $51 for a yearly subscriptions. Newspaper subscribers will get the web edition at no extra charge.
During this time, COVID-19 updates and related news will be made available to website readers at no charge.
Like other newspapers across the country, the Beacon has been impacted by Facebook and Google, which have sucked away advertising dollars and taken the content newspapers have paid reporters to gather.
We understand how important being connected is. We believe what is happening in our city, from City Hall to our schools, nonprofit community, churches and businesses, is integral to our well-being and our future.
The Beacon is here – whether it is the hard copy of the paper or the online edition, or both – to fill that role.