Reader support is critical as Enterprise continues to follow vital local news

By some accounts, the economy is going to rebound slowly even if business and society start opening up as soon as next month.

We hope to be around to help that recovery, and you have a lot to say about that.

The Malheur Enterprise is a family owned business, like so many companies around Malheur County. We aren’t part of some deep-pocketed corporate structure. We don’t live off stock sales and corporate bonds.

The Enterprise exists because of the people of Malheur County and beyond, and we’re especially mindful of that during this current crisis.

Now, more than ever, the Enterprise is counting on community support so we can keep doing a vital job: delivering news the community otherwise wouldn’t get.

Our news team has kept you closely advised on the health and medical issues.

We’ve reported carefully – without panic-inducing tones – as cases of COVID-19 have emerged.

Relying on county health authorities, the Enterprise reported on why the health conditions for some residents make them at risk to be infected.

Our news team has focused hard on the local economy.

Stories have tracked the growing number of jobless claims. We’ve interviewed business owners and reported on their struggles to survive. The Enterprise showed the onion industry’s plunge as restaurants remain closed coast to coast.

On the education front, we reported on how local schools are adjusting to ever-shifting mandates from Salem. We told you how teachers and administrators intend to teach from a distance. And we shared with you how high school seniors suddenly find themselves graduates, with not another day to be spent in the classroom.

And we haven’t overlooked the good news that still comes up, such as the Vale flower shop and photo studio that did what they could to “save” the high school prom.

Covering these stories accurately and professionally is our job. We know that, and we know the community is counting on us more than ever to deliver. We’ll continue to do so.

We’ll also continue what I feel is a vital service – giving free access to our work online.

At the moment, providing the community the information it can trust is essential because so many conflicting reports swirl out there. As is our practice, we’re questioning authorities and digging out the facts, not just printing government press releases.

That free service for Malheur County isn’t free to produce, though. The Enterprise reporters deserve to be paid. So does the staff that backs them up with resources to make the Enterprise.

Advertising – still a primary source of income – has dropped substantially. That’s true for papers across the U.S.

While the income drops, the costs go on and that’s why we turn to the community again and again for help.

We don’t want to happen with the Enterprise what has happened elsewhere. Some newspapers have cut back service, dropping days of publication. Some newspapers have turned off the lights, gone after sometimes a century of service.

Many of you have helped ensure the Enterprise can do its duty for the community. Digital subscriptions are key. So are contributions, now tax deductible. Our employees are heartened by the support – and the notes that come with donations.

“Thanks for keeping excellent local journalism alive in these uncertain times,” one donor wrote last week, sending along a $50 check.

“Grateful for all your coverage, commitment to asking the tough questions, and relentless pursuit of facts. Hang in there!” wrote a donor to our tax-deductible fund.

To each of you who has helped: Thank you!

Today, we’re asking again for your support for the kind of journalism that is nationally recognized for quality. If you agree that your community needs this type of reporting for the weeks and months ahead and you want to join our legion of partners, there are two ways you can help right now:

SUBSCRIBE: A digital subscription is $5 a month. If you already subscribe, you can buy a GIFT SUBSCRIPTION for a relative or neighbor who is out of work.

CONTRIBUTE WITH BENEFIT: You can contribute to our Local News Fund. We have partnered with the national Local Media Association so donors get a receipt to make the contribution legally tax-deductible. You can contribute directly, too, by writing us at Malheur Enterprise, PO Box 310, Vale OR 97918.

Provide us the means to keep going and we’ll continue providing the people of Malheur County the credible, local information so important in these confusing times.

Les Zaitz is editor and publisher of the Enterprise. Email: [email protected].