From the Fringe … Havre Daily accepts the challenge of fighting COVID-19

 

March 27, 2020



It’s been said often in the last few weeks that we’re in a battle with the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. And while it took a little while longer, the battlefront has arrived in Montana, and even here in Hill County.

And, with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s directive Thursday, ordering Montanan’s to stay at home as much as humanly possible, likely for at least the next couple of weeks, if not longer, it appears we too have begun to fight the COVID-19 battle.

I’ve also heard, since the pandemic arrived in the United States, a lot of criticisms of “the media,” as it relates to COVID-19. I won’t go over what those criticisms, rumors and even conspiracy theories have been over the last couple of months. I don’t need too. You’ve all heard, seen or read them. You’re all, no we’re all, pretty plugged in.

Just know, criticism is fine. We in the media expect it. We understand it, and often times, we embrace it. It’s how we learn, it’s how we broaden our own horizons, it’s how we adapt and, in many ways, honest critiques can help us shape who we are as journalists.


Of course, those criticisms can go too far, and can get out of hand, and in my opinion, that’s exactly what has happened during this crisis. And for a time, I admit, much of the criticism I’ve heard, especially in the beginning stages of the crisis, really bothered me. Mainly because, when it comes to crisis, journalists don’t have an agenda. We really do just want to tell all of you what’s going on.

But again, I’m not here to rehash that, or get defensive about it, I’m here to move forward, and I’m here to help fight CIVID-19, because we’re all in that fight together.

I’m also here to say to our subscribers, and to everyone in our coverage area, that, no matter what your thoughts are on the what everyone calls “the media,” in a crisis like this one, journalism is on the front lines. Journalism has always been an important part of every crisis, whether it be all the wars we’ve fought, the fight against economic hardships like the Great Depression and Great Recession, and yes, global pandemics too. 

Through it all, good reporting, and responsible journalism is essential to helping combat any crisis. That’s why it’s considered essential. The last pandemic of this magnitude was the Spanish Flu, and you can do a historical search of just how important newspapers were in helping keep information flowing during that crisis. It was essential then.


The same goes with COVID-19. Journalism will make a huge difference in this fight. It will help people obtain useful, important information, whether it’s right here in Havre and Hill County, or the Whitehouse briefings you see on the major networks every afternoon and evening. Yes, “the media” is playing an essential role in fighting COVID-19, and the Havre Daily News is an important part of that battle.

Just as it’s always been in America, journalism, media, and today, mass and social media, will be instrumental in keeping you informed during this crisis. We will do that because it’s what we do. It’s our job and one we take very seriously.

We, as journalists, accept the challenges of helping fight this crisis, because, that’s what we’ve always done.

 

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