Letter from the Southern Cross

20 July 2020

Dear Father,

Warm greetings from all of us at The Southern Cross. It is time to give you an update on our situation after almost four months of lockdown and our churches being effectively closed.

As far as The Southern Cross is concerned, this has been a dramatic time of change. We lost all of our points of sale when the parishes closed in March. We continued to produce and publish the entire paper, but only online. This resulted in a huge financial loss for us as the printed version makes up the bulk of our sales. Suddenly we had no way of reaching our print readers, with even the post office closing for lockdown.

Despite our online presence receiving a boost and the generosity of our readers, this has not been enough to sustain us. We have had to take the painful decision to retrench eight of our nine staff, with the ninth staff member retiring. By paying out retrenchment packages, as our moral and legal duty, we have no reserves left.

However we are determined to re-build The Southern Cross. Our three senior staff, including the editor, have agreed to work on a freelance basis at half their usual rate. We will continue to publish a reduced weekly paper online, maintain our social media presence and work towards the launch of a monthly print magazine in October, our 100thanniversary.

We have had to find ways of bridging the gap caused by Covid-19 and our changed circumstances. My fellow board members and I will accompany the three freelance staff in making a success of the magazine. Please stay with us! With your help we can make it through lockdown and emerge with a stronger online presence and a new publication.

Please encourage your parishioners to subscribe to the weekly online version of the paper – this will be reduced while we prepare the magazine, but is still well worth subscribing to. We will be in touch again closer to the time, but once the first edition of the magazine is ready to launch we will be relying on you to help us get back on our feet!

We know this has been a difficult time for all the parishes too and you remain in our thoughts and prayers. We wish you well with the protocols for resuming Mass and hope all will go well over the next few weeks.

For any queries please contact our Business Manager, Pamela Davids on 083 233 1956.

May God guide and protect our staff during this difficult time and bless you for your friendship to us,

Rosanne Shields

Chairperson Catholic Newspaper & Publishing Company

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