Editorial: Newspapers’ role in the time of coronavirus

Over the last two months, concern over the spreading COVID-19 virus has increasingly gripped our nation. In this public health crisis, people need access to accurate and authoritative information so that they can make decisions about their health and safety. Hearsay, half-truths and supposition don’t cut it when our lives may be at stake. That’s why this newspaper—and thousands of others in our state—are on the front lines of the pandemic. We are there to inquire, authenticate and report facts so you know what’s going on and what to do.

At The Sun-Gazette we take that responsibility very seriously. 

Four reporters are working around the clock to provide our readers with the latest information on how and where the virus is spreading and what health experts are recommending to protect the public. Further behind the scenes, six other dedicated employees work in production, subscriber and delivery services make sure that our digital and print editions reach our readers with the information they need in these turbulent times. 

We live in an era when information is fingertip-accessible, but so is misinformation. Newspapers provide the relevant details on the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on hospitals and schools. Every day, we’re here focused on delivering critical information to you, our readers, about the things that matter most to you: business, the stock market, jobs, quality of life, elected officials, events, local schools, entertainment, crime, transportation, weather and more. 

We strive for complete accuracy—and when we err, we hold ourselves accountable and strive to do better in the future.

In the face of this great responsibility, newspapers are operating under increasing financial pressure. Over the past 15 years, more than one in five papers in the United States has closed down, and the number of journalists has been cut in half, according to the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism. So if you appreciate the hard work of our journalists during this crisis, please let them know by sending them an email. They are on the front lines, sharing the critical work being done by first responders, health care professionals, public health experts and many others. 

In times of challenge, we’re reminded that we’re all in this together, sharing acts of simple kindness and community cohesion: neighbors helping neighbors, young families making sure seniors have plenty of food, and businesses temporarily closing their doors but paying employees during the shutdown. Although it may be a frightening time, the worst trials can bring out the best in Americans. 

We’re proud to tell these stories of our times. 

Reggie Ellis
Publisher
The Sun-Gazette

Start typing and press Enter to search