With so many people and children working from home now, the load on the system is great. As a writer and editor, all my work is done on a computer. In order to complete my daily tasks, no one else can be on devices in the house when I’m working. We work in shifts. When my email finally opens up, I’m greeted by numerous spam emails for touchless thermometers. While many people’s work has been deemed nonessential, spammers carry on.
News reporters, editors and those printing and distributing newspapers are considered essential and are exempt from stay-at-home orders. Society must stay informed in order to remain cohesive. However, U.S. newspapers aren’t funded by the government; most depend on advertising revenue to pay people to gather, report, edit, publish and deliver news. This business model faced myriad challenges in most markets before the pandemic. As businesses began shutting down in March, newspapers faced an unprecedented, immediate loss of revenue during a time when record numbers of readers were turning to them for information.
While some newspapers have already succumbed to COVID-19, others have enacted cost-saving measures. In the Pacific Northwest, The Spokesman-Review eliminated its Saturday print edition. Seattle’s alternative newspaper, The Stranger, laid off 18 employees and ceased publishing a print edition. The Lewiston Tribune and Moscow-Pullman Daily News cut pay by 10 percent for salaried and hourly employees and enacted four-hour per week furloughs through May.
We each have a different view of the pandemic and its effects. Your perspective on things will be different than mine. In this week’s edition, we ask readers to help document the pandemic by sharing their perspectives through photos and stories. We plan to publish some of the best submissions we receive each week in coming issues. Find information on how to participate by following this link.