By Blaine Howerton
North Forty News has a responsibility to report about things that affect our community. I have spent my entire career sharing stories about people, covering disasters, and many other topics. When I took over North Forty News, I did it to save the last locally owned community newspaper in our area. I realize the importance of having a communication vehicle that anyone can access — even if they don’t have a smartphone — especially in times like this.
I have witnessed countless conversations about the Corona Virus this past week. People aren’t shaking hands. They are lining up to stock up on supplies. Shelves at grocery stores are empty. I spoke to a checker who couldn’t believe the masses of people stocking up with supplies. She blamed the media. Frankly, after my recent trip to the grocery store, I was sad.
Being prepared is one thing. Being scared is another. The checker blamed the media for making people scared.
I had a long conversation with the checker about my responsibility as a Journalist to communicate. I told her my view was that people in the media aren’t at fault for communicating the information. They are just doing their jobs, and there is a lot of information to share right now. But my job is also to be responsible for how it is shared.
In the coming weeks, you will find some information in North Forty News about the Corona Virus. But not tons of it. There is a lot to share. We could share countless stories about closures, the search for vaccines, economic impact, the number of deaths, infections, etc. I have chosen (with our coverage) to make sure people know the basics with a little bit of information they may not have already heard about — while encouraging them to take precautions to prevent the spread of it.
It’s true; many people have died. This pandemic is severe. It’s not the flu. Rushing to the grocery store and preparing for an “apocalypse,” however, makes the situation worse for everyone. Take precautions and avoid large gatherings. But don’t buy every potato and sack of flour you can get your hands on because the next person who needs it can’t raid your pantry!
I encourage everyone to be prepared for a disaster. You never know when it’s going to happen. But, in this case, if you are worried about getting the virus, just stay home. Go out when you need to and do your best to live your daily life. Wash your hands regularly, and yes, do the fist bump. Go check on your elderly neighbor. Offer to cook them dinner, or get them something they need.
This is a time to be helpful and supportive. We need each other to beat this. We will!