With a blank stare, I looked over to my husband Jason as the national news broadcast came to an end Monday night. The final lines of anchor Lester Holt almost sent chills down my spine.
“Please take care of yourselves and each other.”
Let that sink in for a minute. In all my years of watching news channels and other broadcasts, I have never heard a closing statement like that before.
“I’ve never heard that before,” I said, looking to Jason. “When a national anchor is telling you to be safe…”
I instantly thought about the famous words of Edward Murrow’s closing remarks, “good night and good luck,” during his reports on U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-communism crusade.
That short moment brought two thoughts into my consideration. For one, we truly are in this together as we adapt and live with a silent enemy slowing creeping its way into our small community.
Second, the need for honest and balanced journalism is greater than ever.
I don’t intend to waste ink on the criticism and opinion of some news sources. A lot could be said on both sides of the political fence. But the need for local community newspapers is at an all-time high.
The Yazoo Herald is committed to providing accurate news and resources for our readers and our community as a whole as the COVID-19 cases continue to rise within Yazoo. This piece of paper you are holding or our online presence that you are reading at home is coverage geared specifically toward Yazoo, our home.
Jason and I are blessed that we work together at this newspaper. With three children at home, we take shifts during the day. I typically work at my office during the morning hours while Jason switches with me in the afternoons. At night, we are often at our kitchen table surrounded by piles of paper, notes and laptop computers.
I don’t tell you that to get a pat on the back. But I do share that with you to remind you of the importance of your local newspaper. An article about free lunches to Yazoo children may not mean much to a metro, urban, daily newspaper. But it means a lot to many people in Yazoo. Updates of local importance won’t make news in other cities, but it heads to the press for Yazoo. Yazoo women pulling out their sewing machines to help won’t make a national headline. But it held the center stage on our front page. And a few notes of Yazoo citizens spreading positivity and hope may not make the papers in Jackson. But they make our paper here at home.
And that same concept can be felt in so many other professions right here at home. Our medical professionals are working every day to tend to Yazooans. Our teachers are working into the night so that your child’s weekly assignments can be taken home. Our business owners are keeping their lights on, often resorting to other business models. Our restaurants are delivering food to front steps or on the curb. Our church leaders are holding services online or through streaming options. Volunteer services continue to prepare hot meals and make delivery runs. Parents are balancing bills, working from home and teaching their kids throughout the day. Truck drivers continue to deliver goods. And all workers are continuing to do their jobs either at work or from home.
Of course, there are areas of concern within our own community. Are people taking the necessary precautions? How will this affect local education? What will our local economy do to adapt to this new pace of life? How are our local political representatives handling this?
Through my years at The Herald, I have been praised and cursed. I have had the pleasure of writing about remarkable people doing exceptional things. Unfortunately, I have also had to write about corruption and crime. Both are news. I have always said, “I don’t make the news. I just write it.”
We at The Herald will continue to keep the community informed about the local issues that matter to us as Yazooans. Hopefully, my family won’t be afflicted with this illness during that effort. But I assure you, even if it becomes a challenge, the news will print like it has in other circumstances.
This is your news. This is your information. This is your Yazoo. And I pray for my community as we push through this. And I will celebrate with much happiness when we can return to normal.
But until then…good night and good luck.