March 13, 2020
Local Fix: We’re Here With You
Welcome to the Local Fix. Each week we look at key debates in journalism sustainability and community engagement through the lens of local news. This week, we’re breaking form and sharing a reflection.
When we devoted a section to coronavirus in last week’s newsletter, we didn’t expect to have the outbreak become such a present part of our lives so quickly. The only thing many people are certain about now is the uncertainty — when, where, who, and how long — and we understand how frightening and overwhelming that can feel.
You are helping us answer the why. People all around are turning to you for trusted guidance. Your work is helping us navigate the uncertain waters, combating misinformation that puts us all at greater risk, and connecting the dots between the government response and what people are feeling on the ground. Many of you are on the frontlines with first responders, trying to figure out what to do next. We see you and appreciate you.
We also know many of you are doing all of this while struggling to care for your own families. The pressure of that is profound. We feel and share the same anxieties many of you are feeling. We also worry about our loved ones with health conditions, who work in hospitals, and who don’t have the ability to work from home (that includes many local journalists).
As many of us are working from home we are heartened by the solidarity and sharing we are seeing across the industry. Thanks, LION members and Whereby.Us, for the tips. Many conferences that have been sources of connection are now disrupted this spring, and we know coronavirus’s economic ripples could have a powerful impact. In the coming weeks we’ll explore ideas and topics for staying connected and learning from each other in new ways.
In our last newsletter in 2019, we shared a passage from Reverend Victoria Safford about standing together and “planting ourselves at the gates of Hope.” We continue to stand with you there: “the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle.”
Here’s how we’re approaching that piece of ground going forward .
- Teresa is keeping in mind that social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation and the need to help others.
- Dani is recognizing it’s okay to be scared and anxious, but to take precautions and keep the situation in perspective.
- Josh is thinking about “civic love” and looking at models of ad-hoc community networking and peer-to-peer support for families and neighbors around him.
- Christine is trying to make the most of staying at home, like checking in with friends and picking up old hobbies.
We’d love to hear your ideas, questions, concerns, and wonders right now. Hit reply and let us know how you are doing. We’ll see you next week, but in the meantime we’re thinking of you and are proud of you. Thank you for the essential service you’re providing to our democracy.
Have a good weekend,
Josh, Teresa, Christine, and Dani
@jcstearns, @gteresa, @newsbyschmidt, @danirosales27
The Local Fix is a project of the Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program, which invests in innovations and institutions that are reinventing local media and expanding the public square. Disclosure: Some projects mentioned in this newsletter may be funded by Democracy Fund, you can find a full list of the organizations we support on our website.