As you might have guessed, how to cover a worldwide pandemic is not a topic they cover in journalism school, although I suspect it might be added to the curriculum this fall…LOL.
Truth be told, I don’t think this is a topic that gets covered by trainers for almost any profession besides maybe infectious disease specialists and public health providers.
The reality is nobody in pretty much any profession has a playbook for how to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. I think I can speak for many people in saying that if someone does then I would love to see it.
To News Journal readers and the community at large, I would like to say that we are doing our best to make sure we have you covered with information about the pandemic that you want or need to know.
During the month of March, the News Journal has had nearly 90 COVID-19 related posts either on our website, thenewsjournal.net, on our Facebook page or both, none of which have been placed behind the paywall. Our readers have been paying attention.
We are trying to provide you with all the local information that we can ranging from decisions to cancel in-person classes at local schools to local parks and playgrounds closing.
We have also shared articles about people applying for unemployment benefits, which was seen by over 8,800 people on our Facebook page, to an announcement by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Friday that he was recommending Kentucky residents not travel to the state of Tennessee due to a lack of measures in the Volunteer state to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. This one reached over 15,000 people.
To our local restaurants, which are still open but struggling, we are trying to help support you too.
This week the News Journal will be running list of Williamsburg and Corbin area restaurants with the exception of fast food places, that are still open along with numbers for contacting those restaurants and listing ways those restaurants are still serving the public, such as drive-thru, carryout or delivery.
I would encourage local residents to call ahead and get takeout from these restaurants when possible especially since we hope to have those restaurants still around after this pandemic.
This week, the News Journal is also publishing a list of grocery and discount stores in the area, which have reserved times for local senior citizens and those with vulnerable immune systems to shop exclusively so that they will come in contact with as few people as possible.
As I told my father Sunday morning, this is a service that I hope all of our local senior citizens will utilize, especially those with compromised immune systems or other health problems that would be made far worse by contracting COVID-19.
When possible during the coming weeks, the News Journal will attempt to run these two lists of businesses periodically, but know we are having struggles of our own financially. As our Publisher Don Estep pointed out last week in his column, a couple of weeks ago, we had 18 ads that canceled in a single week.
It’s a really strange time to be in the newspaper industry folks.
Businesses, which are closed, such as department stores and furniture stores, don’t really need to advertise. Businesses, which are barely hanging on, like restaurants, can’t afford to advertise. Businesses that have more customers than they know what to do with, such as grocery stores and doctor offices, don’t want any more customers.
While this is a time those of us in the newspaper industry are struggling financially, it is also a time we are working longer hours than ever trying to make sure you stay informed with information you want, and more importantly, information that you need seven days a week.
When this trying time of the COVID-19 pandemic ends – it will end at some point even if it doesn’t seem like it will now – all I ask is that you our readers and advertisers have our backs like we are trying to have yours right now.