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Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- The Advocate's newsroom on Rieger Road in Baton Rouge, photographed in 2015.

The Times-Picayune and The Advocate have never been more vital to our community, and we wanted to take a minute to update you on what we are doing to keep our customers informed and meet the challenges of the economic slowdown.

Louisianians need accurate and unbiased coverage more than ever, and they are turning to us as never before. Online traffic on and is running three to four times above normal.

The pace of new digital subscriptions has more than doubled in March, even though we are making our coronavirus coverage available free of charge as a public service.

We have transformed many of our work processes to allow employees to work remotely, especially in New Orleans, which is the hardest hit part of the state.

Our newspapers are delivered by independent carriers, many working second jobs and needing the extra income as never before. We have increased cleaning at the distribution center where they collect and package their newspapers.

At the same time, government closures, which we have supported, will impact our advertising partners, so our ad volume has dropped off.

As a result, we have been forced to turn to some cost savings. This week, we will be temporarily furloughing about a tenth of our 400-member workforce, and the rest of us will begin four-day workweeks. Our newsroom, with about 120 employees, is the largest in Louisiana, and the furloughs will chiefly impact people who cover sports and social events, which have been curtailed.

The coronavirus crisis is bringing out the best in our company, and the best in our customers. We are as committed as ever, and hoping for brighter days ahead.

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Follow Peter Kovacs on Twitter, @Pkovacs7.