The newspaper in your hands is regularly put together on a Tuesday with a staff of eight people in the office. This week’s edition was done with two… on opposite ends of the building. …
The newspaper in your hands is regularly put together on a Tuesday with a staff of eight people in the office. This week’s edition was done with two… on opposite ends of the building. Standing in an empty office with computers “magically” producing news was a surreal moment. The silence outside the office was just as strange. No clattering of keys. No phones ringing. There wasn’t normal traffic. In the distance, the bells from the church were ringing and there were birds chirping. Magic.
Of course, it wasn’t entirely magic. The other six people who help to write and produce each page of the newspaper each worked from home using remote logins and communicating via messaging. It’s a small part of the overall effort to #flattenthecurve.
If there’s one thing to take away from this peculiar TRR production Tuesday, it is that the ability of the technology we now possess is staggering.
Information on COVID-19 comes faster than the news of old. By the time this paper arrives in your hand from your mailbox, it will no longer be breaking, but it contains pertinent information just the same.
Our hope is that, while you sit in your homes and flip through the pages and read the columns and stories, you will be able to learn about how your neighbors and community are coping with the changes. There isn’t enough space in the paper to talk about each and every individual’s struggle, or how all of our local businesses are going to fare through this global event. We can only provide a snapshot of life and encourage you to reach out (but not with your hands physically) and talk to one another.
Make time to call a friend, a family member, or the farmer down the street. Thank them. Be extra polite on your necessary interactions with people. The cashiers at the grocery store, the healthcare workers and the gas station attendants are all in the trenches, doing their job as best they can, so we can continue to be safe. Thank a truck driver or a lineman with a smile as you pass. Thank your mailman (as you wave out the window). Thank your first responders and elected officials.
We can slow the spread of COVID-19, but we can’t afford to slow the spread of kindness and helpfulness. We need to come together (while staying physically apart) and inspire others to do the same. These interactions and moments will be the real story behind the pandemic long after sensational headlines and tweets have faded.
With that in mind, our area has always historically taken care of its own. Though there will be hardships faced, help will be there. Restaurants and schools are already offering food for children. There have been neighbors helping neighbors by taking turns going to the store.
There’s a fine balance we’re all trying to obtain during this. The amount of information and misinformation online is baffling. Sorting through all of it is daunting and not good for our overall mental health. To combat the mental anguish of sifting through all of that online, people have done some great things. We’ve taught each other better hygiene through song lyrics (www.washyourlyrics.com) and entertained each other on Facebook with toilet paper memes.
If you’ve spent any amount of time on Facebook you have probably seen this quote as a meme, or as copy and pasted in a status update: Fred Rogers often told this story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on the news: “My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
Don’t just look for the helpers. Be the helpers.
With all of this being said, we would like to encourage each and every individual to reach out with their needs. Tell us your tale. We are here to help you stay connected with stories and photos from the community. We’re here to help businesses and services to advertise their needs in a way they can afford. We might not be in the office to answer the phones, but we get your voicemails. We get your emails. We are committed to answering each and every one of them with the best of our ability. (For more information on that, see page 2.)
Thank you. Each and every one of you. Every individual plays their own part in history, and in helping in their community. No single part is too small. Thank you for all the good you’ve done, for all the good you’re doing now and all the good you will continue to do. Thank you for your hard work, your thoughtfulness and your sense of community.