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A letter from the editor

Dear readers, these are uncertain and challenging times for us all. The coronavirus outbreak has thrown the world into turmoil, and here in this little corner of the globe its threat to our health and lives cannot be understated. Two weeks ago, when the gravity of what we as a community are to face in the coming weeks and months became clear, as our schools closed and many local businesses ceased operations, the Chronicle devoted its entire front page to a message of unity: #togetherwearestronger.

We are unified in that the coronavirus affects every one of us. It is a life-changing event that is posing a massive challenge to our business, like so many others. The closure of local businesses
who advertise with us is undoubtedly having an impact, but we are standing strong behind them and we will be there for them when we all emerge from this unprecedented crisis together.

Our office on Castle Street is now empty. Our reporters and staff from other departments – IT, sales, admin, production, design and marketing – are now working remotely.

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However, our entire team remains committed to keeping you informed with quality local journalism, as we have done for the past 125 years.

Since it was first published in 1896, the Strabane Chronicle has never missed an edition. We may have been disrupted by two world wars, we may have been held back by the Ulster Workers’ Council Strike in 1974, we may have been evacuated due to bomb scares on deadline day… but we always got our newspapers out. And we aren’t stopping now.

We are currently in one of the most significant global crises in world history, covering THE biggest news story of our lives, and it’s important that we explain what this unfolding situation means for you.

At a time when rumours and unverified statements can spread uncertainty and fear – particularly on social media – we are committed to providing balanced and objective journalism, giving you the information you need for yourselves, your family and your community.

Some of this information may be bleak, it may be as hard to read as it was to write, yet it’s important that people understand what is happening with this coronavirus and the impact it is having on our community. But there also is hope, inspiration… and that is what we want to focus on the most: The dedication and courage of our health workers and everyone who is trying to keep us safe, those selfless, caring acts of humanity as local people rally and volunteer to look out for each other and help their neighbours.

We have seen so much of it already, and we will see much more in the weeks and months to come.While we must remain apart, our community really is coming together in its time of need.

As journalists, we are so proud to be in a position to document this, to highlight your stories, to show future generations how you responded with strength and determination in the
face of such adversity.

As an editor, I am extremely proud 0f my team. Like you, they are worried and concerned for their loved ones and their community. But over the past few weeks all of our staff has responded magnificently to maintain our print and online coverage for The Strabane Chronicle, Ulster Herald, Tyrone Herald and Dungannon Herald … and will continue to
do so. #WeAreTyrone

We support you, and we hope you support us – we need it now more than ever.

Our print editions are still available in most of the usual local supermarkets, shops and other outlets… or for delivery to your home. You can also take out a digital subscription and access our titles online. You can keep up to date with all the latest developments on our website, where we have a special coronavirus section which includes an extensive community directory of people you can contact who are kindly volunteering to help you.

All things must pass, and there’ll come a time when things will get better, when our businesses re-open, when we can visit our families, play our sports and enjoy a semblance of normality again.
We will be there to record those stories too.

Until then, we sincerely hope you all stay safe.

Nigel McDonagh

Editor

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 4 Castle Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AB