Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: Bucks County Herald

Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: Bucks County Herald

Bucks County Herald finds unprecedented support from readers during COVID-19

The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought many firsts to the world and its inhabitants, and the news media industry is certainly no exception. One such first for Joe Wingert, publisher of the Bucks County Herald, was an open request to his readers for financial assistance by way of donations to the publication. The Herald ran a full-page ad in the March 12 edition that included a photograph of Wingert and his mother, Bridget, executive editor. The text that accompanied the photo carried an urgent explanation. “We’ve had a 50% decrease in advertising sales,” said Wingert. “We explained in a letter to our readers that we’ve never asked for donations before, but we need to now.” The Herald followed up the request with an ad on the website and inclusion in future emails and social media posts, and the response has been tremendous. To date, the publication has received more than 250 donations.

The Herald is continuing to provide its traditional news to the readers who value it so greatly, as well as a new effort specifically designed with the COVID-19 crisis in mind.  Wingert and his team created a daily email newsletter, with unique COVID-19 related stories and information ranging from national and state to hyperlocal. “We are doing the same thing we’ve done with our regular news for years now,” said Wingert. “We are covering the updates and information that they won’t find anywhere else.” He shared one example of an update from a local equestrian facility that was offering a program for children with special needs during the crisis. “Where else are people who really need that information going to find it?” Wingert asked.  Email subscriptions for the newsletter are up more than 200 recipients in 2 weeks.

Reflecting on the current advertising atmosphere, Wingert said he knows the difficulty is something most news media organizations are facing at this time. “Some of our best advertisers are pulling back significantly or completely,” he said. “It’s mostly businesses that are completely shut down right now.  They don’t have any income, so they don’t have anything to spend.” These sentiments are not new; however, the way each organization or publication chooses to maneuver the COVID-19 crisis, and the atmosphere it has presented, varies. Wingert and his team have been researching to transition the organization to a different business model, and this has been a catalyst to get that process started Many publications are now considering making changes to their organizations in an uncertain immediate future.

In the interim, Wingert said he and his team feel truly blessed by the support they have and continue to receive from their readers. “We take turns each day going down (to the post office) for the mail and today we had no mail for advertising, but forty pieces for donations.  I honestly feel like George Bailey,” Wingert said.

For more information, contact Joe Wingert at (215) 794-1096 x. 120 or