COVID-19 has been a challenge for journalists as well as public

I often tell people, somewhat jokingly, that community journalism is rarely boring.
Well, that’s certainly been the case with this COVID-19 outbreak, which has exposed us to grim realities that I don’t think many of us imagined a few months ago.
Of course, having the virus breach the Oregon Veterans Home has been one of those, with the fifth OVH victim announced this week just before we went to press.
Fact is, this is a really strange time to be a journalist, but it’s also rewarding. I’ve been in this business for 40 years, literally, and I’ve spent nearly all of that time in community journalism, recording the activities – large and small – of towns just like Lebanon. This is a new one for all of us.
I have to confess that I never, even in my wildest imagination, envisioned our society going into the almost total shutdown of most of daily life – school, athletics, social life, church, haircuts, etc. Even when I have tried to envision what a pandemic like the Spanish flu might look like in our world (which I actually have), I didn’t see this coming.
This coronavirus outbreak has been challenging to cover, partly because there are so many it is very personal and very complex.
Your newspaper staff is affected, just as you are. The volume of information, even locally, has been torrential, particularly in the first week, when everybody and their brother, it seemed, were announcing how they were responding to the governor’s orders. We were inundated with announcements and updates on which agencies were now working from home, which event had just been canceled.
Now we’re in another chapter, how we’re responding. It’s been just as interesting as the first (and a lot happier, for the most part.)
There have been remarkable efforts and successes not only within the walls of the OVH, but across town. Varying individual instances of this are recorded in our front-page stories. We know, too, that there are many we either aren’t aware of or haven’t gotten to yet. Feel free to let us know what they are.
It’s going to be interesting to look back and evaluate the various decisions and actions that have put us in the position we find ourselves. But as journalists, right now what we need to do is document what’s happening.
This is, after all, history.