Before this month, many of us were probably reminiscing about how drastically different our lives looked before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year.
“A year ago, I was on vacation with my family.”
“A year ago, I was eating inside a restaurant.”
“A year ago, I got a promotion.”
“A year ago, I was at a sold-out music concert.”
Now, as we reach the one-year mark of when the coronavirus was declared a national emergency, we’ve also arrived at the point where some of us are recalling some very painful memories.
“A year ago, I was healthy.”
“A year ago, I lost my job.”
“A year ago, I postponed my wedding.”
“A year ago, my loved one was still here.”
As a country, more than 500,000 lives have been lost to COVID. Our economy is still struggling, and families everywhere have had to make huge sacrifices this past year.
In this month’s issue, writer Gretchen Peck caught up with several newsrooms around the country to discuss how they are faring a year after COVID (the story will be live on our website on Monday). For some of them, looking back at the past has brought up some very painful and sad memories. It was a tumultuous time full of uncertainty, tragedy, and loss, but these newsrooms also understood they had a duty to perform as they continued doing their crucial jobs in spite of their circumstances.
It’s not all doom and gloom in our business though.
This month, we also honor and recognize our next generation of news leaders. Our annual 25 Under 35 list is always a cause of celebration. Whether it’s with sales and numbers, a pen and paper, or video and camera, these young men and women are working diligently in our newsrooms to ensure the future of journalism. They had to navigate a turbulent year as well, but that didn’t deter them from staying positive and hopeful. As you read about them, my wish is that their words also inspire you in your own work.
Which brings me to one last message I want to convey this month.
As we hit the one-year anniversary of mandatory lockdowns, which forced media companies to close their physical newsrooms, NPR journalist Steve Inskeep tweeted, “One year ago, our job at @NPR narrowed to a single thing: stay on the air for people, no matter what. Over the weekend it hit me that we’ve done that so far, whatever the personal cost. And I suddenly had to sit down. To colleagues who never give up: thank you.”
Staying on the air. Printing a newspaper. Publishing a story online. All of that was possible was because our industry never gave up. It’s an important reminder for all of us as we enter into our second year of COVID. But as we reflect on a year ago, I challenge you to finish this thought instead, “A year from now…”
Nu Yang is editor-in-chief of Editor and Publisher. She has been with the publication since 2011.