Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: The Daily Item

Promotional Spotlight Special Edition: The Daily Item

The Daily Item provides crucial coverage during COVID-19 crisis

The Daily Item has been serving the central Susquehanna Valley by covering important and breaking news for Montour, Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties for more than 80 years.  As the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects became a reality for its citizens and subscribers, The Daily Item was ready to support that same community, both digitally and in print.

Dennis Lyons, editor at The Daily Item, decided to create an email newsletter devoted to COVID-19 coverage.

“We have several e-newsletters that people can subscribe to,” said Lyons. “We felt this issue and the coverage surrounding it warranted a specific, tailored newsletter.” Since the newsletter’s creation on March 12, more than 5,000 people have signed up for it, as of April 2. Lyons says that’s the quickest take-off for any of the newsletters to date.

The Daily Item’s COVID-19 newsletter features the publication’s top six or seven related stories of the day, and the publication metrics so far have shown those to be primarily articles about local topics related to the crisis.

“Every once in a while, when something new and critical emerges out of Washington, we’ll see a national story in the group,” said Lyons. “For the most part these are local, and at times state, stories that carry news that is ‘closer to home’ for the readers.”

Lyons noted the two local hospitals and developments at them are chief among story topics in the newsletter. “Evangelical Community Hospital confirmed its first death related to COVID-19 a few days ago,” said Lyons. “It’s one of two large hospitals in our region, and that was one of the articles with the most engagement on our website and in the COVID-19 newsletter.”

The Daily Item has made the COVID-19 newsletter accessible to subscribers and non-subscribers alike. “Every COVID-19 story is labeled as ‘breaking news’ and every ‘breaking news’ article on The Daily Item website is completely free to the public,” Lyons said, citing the need for the publication to deliver the information and updates the community needs most.

The Daily Item continues to print and deliver seven days per week and has, according to Lyons, seen significant engagement from a digital perspective since the beginning of the COVID-19 advisories. With more than 40 completely new digital subscribers in March and more engagement from current subscribers in a digital capacity, The Daily Item is working to provide the information the community seeks in whatever form works best for them.

Reader feedback has supported this mission. “We are hearing some really positive feedback, including from some of our long-time subscribers,” said Lyons, “things like, ‘I have been a subscriber since the mid-1970s and have never appreciated you more!’”

The Daily Item has advertisers for some of its other newsletters and Lyons said they are working to get one for this one.  Like all news operations, The Daily Item is also working hard to be creative in both generating revenue by drawing new print and digital subscribers.

“Even before the virus outbreak we knew that subscribers being willing to pay for content is going to be an important part of our business model moving forward,” Lyons said. “While this newsletter is available for free, overall, we need to make sure we provide content that readers need and will be willing to pay for.”

For more information, contact Dennis Lyons at (570) 988-5482 or