New year, same news.
The beginning of 2022's news cycle started the same way 2020's ended and 2021's began.
The major headlines across national news outlets continues to be COVID-19 related, now 22 months into the pandemic.
Each day brings a new report on cases, deaths, a new variant, speculation of lockdowns and arguments over vaccination passports and mask mandates. Oftentimes, the point of these headlines is driven across with panic and anger but it's effective. These bold headlines are meant to draw clicks and views.
The COVID-19 pandemic is important and deserves coverage but often-times, other vital news gets buried deep in online publications and newscasts. Stories that typically would deserve top billing are put on the back burner for what is sometimes an “update” that brings little new information.
At what point does the same information just become background noise? How effective can repeated headlines and arguments be if they become something viewers become numb to and train themselves to tune it out?
This is where community newspapers step in. Staff at community newspapers, such as the Washington County Enterprise, still cover the pandemic. They have to because it is something that still affects the landscape of everyday life. But they do so in a way that pays respects to the people on the front lines battling, acknowledges the people who have had their lives altered by the pandemic and relay new information in a way that is consumable for readers without attempting to incite fear, anger and division.
Community news sources won't ignore the pandemic as long as it continues but they also won't ignore the things that get readers to pick up the paper each issue. On the front pages will still be stories of triumph and tragedy, celebrations of achievement and photos that paint colorful pictures of the goings-on in their communities.
Communities throughout the country have done their best to not stop because of the pandemic and to continue to grow and thrive despite the challenges faced. And next to those communities' sides has been the local news sources.
Hopefully in the not-so-distant future, COVID headlines become a thing of the past but headlines that haven't – and won't – go away are the ones that make small town papers worth reading.
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