“This is a really hard job,” says Rutha, who requested her last name be omitted for safety reasons. “So there has to be a desire to want to help people and to want to intervene and keep children safe and support families.” That desire has been tested lately, as the investigations division has struggled with staffing shortages, peaking in May when 11 of the department’s 29 positions were vacant.
With the contest for Asheville City Council taking place for the first time alongside a presidential election, the risk of local issues getting lost in the shuffle has grown. Add in a pandemic, misinformation spreading on social media and questions about the security and validity of election results — clearly, our independent and free local election coverage is more important than ever before.
As local advertisers cope with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, we’re projecting a $700,000 revenue decrease this year, compared with last year. In response, we’ve been developing new sources of revenue, improving efficiencies and cutting expenses. This is our 2020 midyear report.
Due to cancellations and closures among music venues, restaurants, performing arts spaces and other businesses — some of the newspaper’s biggest advertisers — about half the revenue that supports Xpress’ community-focused reporting has vanished in a matter of days. Publisher Jeff Fobes asks you to chip in and help Xpress through this challenging time.
How has print advertising changed in the last year? What are the new challenges advertisers face? Susan Hutchinson answers these questions and more.
While Xpress can’t replace the volume of the coverage a fully resourced Citizen Times and other daily newspapers provided this community for over a century, we will continue to highlight the topics that have been our mainstays for many years: local government and economy; the region’s environment; arts and entertainment; food; history; health and wellness; opinion; and community happenings.
Your continued participation in this locally focused journalistic conversation — this project of growing and sustaining a healthy, vibrant community whose members speak up for the changes that matter to them — is the most important story of 2018 for Xpress.
With the edition of July 25, Mountain Xpress enter its 25th year of covering the news, arts and culture of Western North Carolina.