An Echo Press Editorial: Newspaper remains committed during challenging times

By the Echo Press Editorial Board

The news goes on – even in this strange new world of social distancing, limited gatherings and stay-at-home guidelines.

As a precaution, our office is temporarily closed to the public, but we still have a full staff answering the phones, renewing subscriptions, helping advertisers, and producing news and sports stories, along with all our special publications.

The Echo Press has been through challenging times before – our office flooded one day in the mid-1990s, leaving us knee-deep in water where we sloshed around, saved our computers and files, and still put out two newspapers that week. In the 129-year history of the Echo Press, we’ve persevered through power outages, paralyzing technological difficulties and other calamities that tested our resolve but we’re still here.

During the coronavirus, we’ve produced dozens of stories and relayed information about business closings, restaurant adaptations, health advice and how the outbreak has changed people’s lives in both good and bad ways. As a public service, we’re providing all that content on our website free of charge, regardless of subscription status.

At this time, we plan to continue putting out two newspapers a week and delivering the Lakeland Shopping Guide. There are some factors, however, we can’t control, such as our ability to receive supplies like newsprint and ink, and the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to deliver printed paper to our subscribers.


If those printed services are interrupted, we will communicate with our subscribers or members through our website and mobile applications.

Our newsroom

Covering such a massive story is a huge challenge – kind of like chipping away at an iceberg of stories with a fork, but we’re committed to informing our community of what, exactly, is taking place, cutting through the rumors and misinformation that always arises when dealing with the unknown. Our parent company, Forum Communications, has also helped bring news to our readers with statewide and national coverage of the pandemic, and graphics that boil down essential information into easy-to-understand images.

Our job of keeping the local community informed has never been more important. We were glad to see Gov. Tim Walz classified newspapers as an essential service during his shelter-in-place order. We’ve also been heartened by the support we’ve been receiving from the public as we get through this challenging time together.

Most of our reporters are working at home but we’re still in constant touch with one another via our laptops and phones. And these efforts go beyond the newsroom. Our entire staff remains tightly connected. We had our usual “stand-up” meeting on Monday morning to bring everyone up to speed on the week ahead, but this time it was through a video conference call with many of the employees communicating from their home computers.

If anyone needs to reach the newsroom, reporters and editors may still be contacted through their regular work emails and phone lines. The Echo Press tip line for breaking news stories is also still available at 320-815-0834. We also have a dropbox located on the east side of our building for people to drop off news releases, payments and other items.

Our sales/circulation team

The Echo Press continues to support local businesses. Through April 30, we are reducing open advertisement rates by 50% for all print advertising in the Echo Press and the Lakeland Shopping Guide through our “We’re Here for You” campaign.

Businesses can also share any reduced hours, cancellations, closures or other changes brought on by the coronavirus by emailing .

We will still be answering phones Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Our customer care associates are still available to take classified ads and subscriptions/memberships, by calling 320-763-3133.


Our contract carriers will still be delivering the Lakeland Shopping Guide but because of the pandemic, there are some locations, such as assisted living facilities and apartment buildings, they will no longer enter. They will leave the papers at the entrances.

For our print subscribers, now is a good time to activate your digital membership that comes with your print subscription. You can activate your membership online at . If you need help, please call 329-763-3133.

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