Editorial: Newspapers are on the front line

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 16, 2020

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We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, but its impact on America’s communities is local.
First responders are our neighbors helping our neighbors, rushing to addresses just down the street and bringing the sick to the nearby hospital. The workers on the front line of this crisis, manning the cash register at supermarkets or delivering takeout from a favorite restaurant with a closed dining area, are folks that we might have gone to school with.
Local newspapers and their journalists are also among the front-line workers dedicated to serving their communities.
Local newspapers, in their digital and print forms, immediately report critical breaking news of the fast-moving coronavirus public health crisis in their communities. They chronicle the local businesses that have closed and guide those suddenly furloughed to sources of financial and unemployment assistance. They alert local people to the scams that target that assistance.
In the stillness of communities under stay-at-home orders, the local newspaper advises on how to keep homes safe and prepared, and how to keep families entertained and learning.
Newspapers let their communities know how they can help the medical, public safety and service workers who heed the call of duty even among the din of uncertainty.
And local newspapers respond to their own call of duty in this crisis.
Their reporters continue to work so readers can stay informed. The production team continues to assemble the content and the press crew continues to run the presses.
But, like many other businesses affected by the pandemic, revenue has suddenly dropped off a cliff, in some newspapers by 50 percent or more. Yet, while many of those local businesses have simply shut down operations for now, the great majority of newspapers have actually increased the amount of critical information they are delivering for their communities.
Just as communities generously support their restaurants and favorite stores by ordering take-out meals and gift cards, we hope you will also remember to support the staff of your local newspaper and the vital work newspapers do by subscribing in print or online.
They are your neighbors — and they’ve got your back.
On behalf of its approximately 1,500 newspaper and associate member companies, America’s Newspapers is committed to explaining, defending and advancing the vital role of newspapers in democracy and civil life. We put an emphasis on educating the public on all the ways newspapers contribute to building a community identity and the success of local businesses. Learn more at www.newspapers.org