For the first time in the history of the island’s community newspaper, The San Pedro Sun is appealing to their thousands of readers for support during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to The San Pedro Sun editor, Tamara Sniffin, the pandemic has been financially devasting to many businesses on the island and countrywide who usually promote their services with advertisements in the newspaper. This is the customary way print publications across the globe are funded. Now that many cannot either afford to advertise or are refraining from doing so when there are few customers to reach, this source of revenue has come to a complete halt.

“Ironically, while many businesses have had to close or reduce their staff and services due to the lack of customer demand, the newspaper offers a service that now, more than ever, has a huge demand for,” explained Sniffin. “We have always worked 24/7 for our beloved community, covering essential news that our community depends on. Like so many businesses worldwide, we have been forced to make tough decisions. We are a small staff to begin with, and have laid off two employees and reduced the pay of our three essential employees who work tirelessly to serve the community they love and live in. They are out there, often risking their health and safety to get the news people across the country and globe depend on. We are providing a product that is consumed by thousands of people, and traditionally that is a service people are not used to paying for. But the world is changing, and like any other product a customer consumes, it comes with a cost. First and foremost is our commitment to serving our community with reliable news. Local journalism is a lifeline for the community, and we believe our service is essential. It should be something everyone can afford, so at this time, we will not resort to making our online news only available to subscribers, but for those who appreciate our efforts and can spare a few dollars, every cent essentially goes back to the community in the form of news.”

The San Pedro Sun has not printed a newspaper since the end of March, and until advertisers are ready, the paper will remain as an online source on their popular website www.sanpedrosun.com. “The traffic we have seen on our website in the last few months has increased by 40%, and as we share news on our Facebook page, traffic has skyrocketed there as well,” comments Sniffin. “We know people are devouring our news, and we are busy meeting that demand.” Sniffin also sees these online platforms as an opportunity for businesses to promote their services. “Ads on our website, which are often shared on our Facebook page, see tremendous traffic and are a great way to reach customers within Belize and globally. Promoting your business this way is not only affordable and effective, but one way to support the local news. Our relationships with advertisers go further than just ads, we are always here to write about and promote their services in a number of different ways and feel that having that personal connection offers a great value.”

Established in 1991, The San Pedro Sun is 100% owned and operated by Belizeans. To learn more and how you can support local journalism, please go to https://donorbox.org/support-local-journalism-10 and for advertising information please contact [email protected]

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