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Daily uses front page to announce halt to home deliveries

A regional daily used its front page to announced it had suspended home delivery for more than 5,000 readers.

The Glasgow Times has made the “difficult decision” due to the coronavirus lockdown, with print subscribers being offered a free digital edition in the interim.

The World Health Organization confirmed last week that newspapers remain safe to read during the coronavirus pandemic, but the Times is largely reliant on door to door cash collection.

In a front page editorial, Times editor Callum Baird said the decision had been made in order to keep those who deliver the newspaper safe.

Glasgow delivery

The decision was announced on Saturday, and the Times remains available in print elsewhere.

Wrote Callum: “The coronavirus lockdown is affecting life for everybody in or city. And although we know how important the paper is to our 5,000+ home delivery readers, we have taken the difficult decision to suspend our service until the lockdown is over.

“Although we have been assured by experts that there is no chance of contracting the virus by handling newspapers, the safety of our junior agents who deliver the paper is the most important thing for us.

“We will be back. And we hope you will join us. In the meantime, we can deliver our digital edition straight to your device every morning for free”

He added: “Please stay safe in this difficult time.”

A Newsquest spokesman said: “We are confident that the home delivery of newspapers is safe and indeed, as recognised by the government, an essential service undertaken by key workers in terms of providing much needed trusted news to our loyal readers who are stuck at home at this critical time.

“The Glasgow Times is unique to most other newspapers in that it still is very reliant on door to door cash collection, and it is for that specific door to door cash collection reason that we decided to pause the home delivery service for the time being.

“We are working on alternative solutions that should enable us to restart home delivery of the Glasgow Times very soon.”

A regional publisher has revived a cartoon dog mascot from the past to help parents homeschooling their children.

Reach plc’s hyperlocal news service In Your Area has brought back the Chipper Club, an oganisation which was originally created by Birmingham Mail forerunner the Birmingham Evening Despatch between the wars to entertain children.

The club is named for a real life dog named Chipper, who was owned by Despatch Editor F.R. Gillman.

In Your Area editor Tom Gibbon said: “We’ve re-invented Chipper for a new generation of home-schooled kids, and we’re inviting parents across the country to sign their children up the club and get involved in Chipper’s Challenges.

“Each week the Chipper Club will set a brilliant new project for kids that they can do without leaving the house.

“Each project will be designed with input from primary school teachers to ensure they fit in with the curriculum, but will also be lots of fun to do.”

The Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News have launched a “pen pal” scheme for readers left lonely by the coronavirus outbreak.

Reporter Donna-Louise Bishop, who is overseeing the campaign, said: “Here to Help: Not Alone is all about steering the focus towards positive mental health and wellbeing and counteracting the effects of social isolation.

“With this in mind, the EDP and Norwich Evening News have set up a pen friend scheme to bring people together during this unprecedented series of events.

“We want to connect groups and individuals who want to both receive letters, as well as write them – whether that be via our postal service or email.

“So if you want to get involved, we’d love to hear from you. Having loads of support for a project like this and to bring the community together through writing would be absolutely heartwarming.”

Four sister dailies are offering readers a free digital subscription for three months in order to help readers “stay informed” during the coronavirus pandemic.

DC Thomson has confirmed the move at its Dundee dailies The Courier and the Evening Telegraph, and Aberdeen titles the Press & Journal and Evening Express.

The move will entitle readers to unlimited access to the titles’ websites and e-editions of the newspapers.

In a piece explaining the move at his own paper, Courier editor David Clegg, pictured, pledged to ensure that all breaking and urgent coronavirus-related advice was “fact checked and available on our website in the first instance”.

JPIMedia editor-in-chief Jeremy Clifford has launched a plea for support from readers of the company’s newspapers.

In an editorial published across the group’s titles, Jeremy said he had two requests to ask fo readers – the first being to keep sending in photographs, news and tips and the second being to keep buying papers.

He said: “The government wants newsagents, corner shops and supermarkets to stay open and for newspapers to continue to be made available.

“So please help us to fulfil our duties. Keep buying a copy of this paper — and not just for yourself but for neighbours too.

“These are precarious times. Our journalism — trained, professional, highly regulated — is funded by your purchase and by advertising.

“We will only be able to continue to do this with your continuing support. Together we will emerge from this crisis. By supporting us, we hope we will be supporting you.”