Like most of the world, we were unaware that a pandemic was around the corner when we started publishing news stories on The Local about coronavirus back at the start of 2020.
But very quickly, the scale of what was happening to the world became apparent. We told how the first case was detected in Germany in January and then went on to report how it spread throughout the country, offering detailed analysis, as well as the latest from German authorities, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Like many of our readers, we moved to working from home. And at the peak of the crisis our small team worked round the clock to make sure we were covering all the news and keeping our readers informed on rules affecting every single person, from travel restrictions to curfews.
We wanted to show you what was happening in Germany, from the smaller regions to the big cities; from the front line of the crisis to the businesses affected, and those having their working hours reduced.
We wanted to hear our readers’ voices on how they were coping and dealing with the changes.
We wanted to offer reassurances and report the facts accurately so readers had all the important information during this unsettled time. We even took down our paywall on need-to-know coronavirus information so everyone had access to emergency numbers and the latest regulations.
Record number of readers sign up as paying members
In writing about it, our reporters and other staff have been living through this pandemic just like you, worrying about family, cancelling plans, falling ill with coronavirus, not knowing when they will be able to see friends and relatives back home, and stressing about future uncertainties.
We are used to covering news and disturbing events. But this pandemic was a whole new thing.
In those first uncertain months, everything was up in the air.
And we've been worried about the future of our jobs and business, like everyone else. So many media companies have had to lay off journalists this year. Here at The Local, we saw our advertising revenues plummet. We were rescued by a record number of readers who signed up as paying members (there are now 27,000 of you, but we will need over 40,000 to be sustainable on membership alone).
You literally saved us and we can’t think you enough. We are over the moon to receive support from you.
But it’s not over. We now need to keep growing to secure our future and develop our sites to expand our coverage of the issues that matter to you. And more importantly: we want to start paying you back. We're reinvesting much of our membership revenue into improving the site and our journalism – this is our way of saying thank you.
Here's what we've done so far:
- We've been recruiting freelancers to help fill in for us when we're away, and provide interesting stories and new angles
- We are launching a new weekly members only newsletter
- At the start of summer, we received a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network to take an in-depth look at the responses to different parts of the coronavirus crisis in Europe, what's worked, what hasn't, and why. This gave us the opportunity to do more in-depth journalism, and we would love to do much more
- Through that we highlighted readers' businesses and financial concerns about the pandemic, as well as a look at Germany's testing strategy and the role of face masks
There were and continue to be so many stories to tell.
So here’s what we want you to know: we are here for you. We want to continue to tell your stories, fight your corner and make your voice heard.
How can we do this?
We are keeping our eyes and ears peeled for any changes to life in Germany that affect you, whether it concerns tax, housing, jobs or life in general
We’ll report on new coronavirus rules and regulations, important updates, news stories and analysis
We'll report on your stories, concerns and ask questions on your behalf. That could be about coronavirus, Brexit or any other topic
We are a small team so if there is anything you think we’ve missed or that you want us to write about you should feel free to contact us. We might not be able to cover everything but we'll certainly try.
Thank you for reading and supporting The Local.