WE always knew you believed in us!
Now you are proving it with your generous support for our online portal, as it takes a huge hit from an 80% drop in global advertising revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Tasked with finding a way to tackle the huge shortfall that would have led to us having to lay off a number of journalists, we have introduced a subscription scheme for our two million-plus readers a month.
This simple request has so far led to dozens of big-hearted readers to lend their support.
A vital help in these tough times, it allows us to continue exposing the fraudsters, cheats and conmen that sadly will be proliferating around Spain in this turbulent time.
It also means we can continue undertaking the important first person journalism that you have become used to over the last 14 years: Reporting on the ground in Barcelona, say, during the riots, or at Franco’s exhumation this Spring, in El Escorial, or right now, out and about interviewing doctors, police and politicians on the coronavirus crisis.
Also, doing our regular travel guides, culture and history features and interviews with leading figures such as the British Ambassador, mayors and business leaders.
But this money is also immediately being put to great use as we introduce a new expat community helpline giving up-to-the minute advice on issues arising from the crisis.
This has so far involved helping a pensioner tackle his local bank, a doctor get an urgent flight back to the UK and advice on travel restrictions.
We are also introducing a regular ‘COVID-19 GUIDE’ section, comprising detailed guides for expats on everything from help for autonomos (self-employed) to ways to stay healthy.
And we will be linking up local charities, helping to coordinate the massive effort they are undertaking to tackle this crisis on the ground.
And to prove that charity really does start at home, all of the Olive Press team has vowed to give some of our time to help with translations of documents and general advice on any matters arising during this crisis. Please email us any requests or call us.
The future of media
But most importantly, we see some vital and necessary changes ahead.
Just as society will inevitably change once this crisis starts to ease, we want to try to wean ourselves off the need to have aggressive advertising online that feeds an excessively consumer-led society and often feeds addictions.
We, like you, sympathise with the amount of ads and pop ups that frustrate and make reading many websites difficult these days.
But sadly for traditional media groups to survive it has been a necessary evil.
In the old days papers like ours with real journalists commanded a cover charge, but that is sadly now impossible with the remarkably few places available to buy newspapers.
Culturally, readers have also changed and no longer buy the traditional mainstream media as they used to do.
They expect things online… and they expect it fast… AND of a high quality.
It has created a huge crisis for newspapers globally, which has led to tens of thousands of journalists losing their jobs. Even celebrated national newspapers like the Mirror, in the UK, were laying off hundreds of them in the last two weeks.
A shortage in journalists has, in turn, has led to far too many town halls remaining unscrutinized and, tragically, only a fraction of court cases getting covered.
Meanwhile, fraudsters and conmen are not being taken to task, while corruption is becoming increasingly rife.
In a way to remedy the situation, thousands of media groups around the world have introduced a paywall as a solution to dwindling print and advertising revenues.
We are holding firm however and see a different way to survive.
Using a method introduced by the UK’s campaigning Guardian newspaper two years ago, we hope that readers who regularly use our site (and there are millions of you), are prepared to pay something to help see us continue to serve you.
If you are enjoying the content and service we provide and would like to make a donation, please feel free to do so to support our excellent team of journalists, plus dozens more freelancers who rely on the income we pay them.
With your continued support and I hope that we will be able to take on more journalists and writers over the coming year and by 2021, when this crisis is (hopefully) finally over, we will be giving you even more complete coverage on a daily basis, 365 days a year.
All in all we hope that we can get back to enjoying this wonderful country and culture that many of us live in and millions more visit regularly.
Jon Clarke, Publisher