Arlington, VA

Last month, ARLnow set a new all-time readership record: 1.45 million pageviews. In the nine days since the first coronavirus case was reported in Arlington, we have blown that away, setting fresh records every night.

For the past 30 days, we’ve served 600,000 readers and just under 2 million pageviews.

It has been an incredibly busy two weeks for ARLnow’s staff. We have been working around the clock to provide vital community coverage, continuing to dig up scoops while curating a large amount of information that has been coming in via email and social media. We have also been working to make sure we can continue to operate amid unprecedented business disruptions.

It seems like ages since our first staff meeting about coronavirus, on Friday, March 6 — before the NBA season was cancelled and the president went on TV.

Here’s part of the staff memo:

There are two schools of thought regarding the outbreak. One is that it’s not too bad and it’s going to be similar to the flu, and it will be business as normal in a few months. The other is that this is a “black swan event” that is a significant public health danger as well as a prolonged disruption to the economy. At this point, from what I’m seeing, I lean more toward the latter.

Obviously, the more alarmist-seeming (at the time) prediction proved to be very much correct.

We sent our editorial staff home the following Tuesday, after Arlington’s first confirmed case, and our business staff home shortly thereafter. We have been working remotely ever since, with the exception of our roving staff photographer, Jay Westcott, who is taking proper precautions to stay healthy.

Given the extraordinarily high readership ARLnow has been getting, we know that we have a big responsibility to keep the community well informed. And we are going to do just that, through thick or thin, to the best of our ability. Expect continued, up-to-the-minute coverage, including both enterprise reporting and curation of the firehose of press releases and info we’re getting, in the coming weeks.

But choppy seas are ahead. Advertising-supported local media in the D.C. area is hurting, as DCist reported today. ARLnow’s amazing advertisers have mostly stuck with us so far, but amid the chaos the usual steady flow of new sales has slowed to a trickle.

We have prided ourselves on making our reporting free for all, and not asking readers to support our ongoing operations. But this time things are different — we need your help to get through this. ARLnow runs a lean operation, and don’t have legacy newsprint costs to worry about, but we still have significant expenses — salaries, benefits, office rent (shout out to our friends at Techspace), and enterprise-grade web hosting, to name a few.

If you have enjoyed reading ARLnow over the past 10 years, and you have the means to give us a few bucks a month, we would very much appreciate you joining our Patreon.

If you would prefer, you can also send contributions via Paypal.

We have two Patreon tiers: $6 and $10 per month. Every little bit will help us get through this for the next couple of months. And when everything is back in business and we’re in the clear, we’ll let you know.

While we appreciate inquiries about giving more, the truth is there are plenty of local organizations and people that need it more urgently than us. Please give the big bucks to nonprofits like AFAC, A-SPAN, Arlington Thrive, the Arlington Community Foundation and others.

We are humbled by the trust Arlington has placed in us, in making ARLnow your go-to local news source. If you can go a step further and support us for the next few months, we would be extremely grateful. Maybe we’ll even throw a party when this whole thing is over.

Thank you.

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