By Carla Bumstead
— Cindy Gaedert-Gearhart, owner and publisher of The County Journal and Flashes Advertising and News announced this morning that the weekly editions of both newspapers will temporarily move to online-only publication until the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation has abated.
“This was a very difficult decision, but it was a matter of simply having no other choice,” Gaedert-Gearhart said. “With the COVID-19 restrictions and the governor’s stay at home order, our advertising revenue has dropped so significantly that we simply can’t afford to pay for the cost of printing and delivery at this time.”
The County Journal and the Flashes are both weekly publications serving much of Eaton County — including the communities of Charlotte, Potterville, Bellevue, Olivet, Dimondale, Sunfield, Mulliken and Eaton Rapids. Both have always had online, digital versions.
Gaedert-Gearhart stressed the switch to online only is expected to be only temporary and will begin with this week’s publication date of Saturday, March 28.
“We want to assure all of our loyal readers and advertisers that nothing is changing aside from a temporary stop to printing our newspapers,” she said. “The papers will still have the local news content, legal notices, classifieds and display advertising that the community relies upon.
“The only difference will be that people will have to do their reading on their phones, tablets or computers.”
The newspapers’ business office, located in downtown Charlotte, is still open to the public, as newspapers are considered “essential businesses.” However, Gaedert-Gearhart encourages the public to call with any editorial or advertising needs, rather than coming in. Business hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office will be closed on Fridays until April 13.
“We are definitely not closed and have every intention of continuing to provide our communities with the local news coverage and business information they have always depended on.”
The phone number for both newspapers is 517-543-1099. The weekly deadline of Wednesday at 5 p.m. remains unchanged. Both The County Journal and the Flashes Advertising and News can be accessed at county-journal.com. Simply click the “digital edition” link on the right.