The Coloradoan and its journalists are here to help you make sense of what’s happening amid the coronavirus so you can stay informed, safe and healthy. Wochit
March 5, 2020, feels like it was two years ago.
I remember it vividly. Earlier in the day, we received notice that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis would be holding a news conference in the late afternoon about the state’s first case of the new coronavirus.
At least five Coloradoan journalists gathered around a TV in our office and watched intently as Polis told the state that not only was there one case, but two. Furious typing began as we raced against our deadline to ensure that both print and digital readers had the latest updates on the not-yet-pandemic that had arrived in our home state.
“Here we go,” I remember saying.
I had no way of knowing then just how much our lives — and work — would be disrupted in the two months that followed.
Two cases quickly turned to 50, states of emergency were declared locally and across Colorado, schools shifted instruction to online platforms, restaurants, bars and gyms were closed, and events scrapped. Today, the state has reported more than 16,000 cases of COVID-19, and more than 800 deaths.
And just a few days after COVID-19 was confirmed in Larimer County — while we were in the middle of covering the biggest story of our lifetimes — the Coloradoan newsroom packed up and headed for home on March 13.
At the time, we thought our work-from-home life would only last until April 5, but as the calendar now turns to May, we are still settling into that new normal with no plans to return to the physical office in the weeks to come.
Information was flowing rapidly, and we were drinking from a fire hose. We quickly realized in order to serve our community — and ensure everyone had the critical information they needed to keep themselves and their loved ones safe — we needed to make some changes. And thus began staggered shifts and increased weekend staffing, ensuring nearly 24/7 news coverage for Northern Colorado. Today, Coloradoan journalists are on watch early in the morning and late at night every day.
You might have noticed some new bylines on coronavirus stories. We have a motto in our newsroom: “Everyone is a breaking news reporter.” Editors and sports reporters have pivoted from their normal duties to increase our coverage bandwidth.
We are dedicated to our public safety mission. In times of crisis, we are committed to providing news that is critical to public safety free for everyone to view. Something we don’t experience with floods and fires is the unprecedented economic toll of this pandemic. We never would want someone’s financial situation to restrict their access to vital information.
Through March and April, the Fort Collins Coloradoan provided 238 coronavirus stories free for everyone to view. That’s more than a quarter of all the journalism we produced in that time period.
We are here for you. To cover stories about your health, your business, your community.
And we want to make sure we are here for you in the future — not just through the end of this crisis, but for decades to come.
This is where you come in. We can’t continue to inform our community and provide 24/7 news coverage without your support.
Local news, like many local businesses, has been hit hard by the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly all our journalists are working through furloughs that result in a 25% reduction in pay and hours for the next two months. And on Friday we had to say goodbye to one of our promising young journalists, Brooklyn Dance, due to staff reductions necessitated by the economic downturn.
How you can help on #GivingNewsDay
In an effort to ease this economic impact, GivingTuesday.org has dubbed May 5 #GivingTuesdayNow. The organization is encouraging everyone to come together for our communities, reach out to neighbors, and support health care workers, businesses and nonprofits.
The journalism industry is calling May 5 #GivingNewsDay to rally support around local news organizations and preserve their vital function in their community.
If you don’t already subscribe to the Coloradoan but have found our work valuable in these difficult times, please subscribe this #GivingNewsDay if you’re able. For this one day only, you will be able to purchase a year of unlimited digital access for just $39. That’s nearly 70% off the regular rate.
If you already subscribe to the Coloradoan, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. None of this would be possible without you. Many of you have asked how you can help in addition to your subscription. If you’re able and would like to help, consider gifting a subscription to a family member or friend this #GivingNewsDay.
We are honored to be a part of this Fort Collins community. We will get through this, together.
Jennifer Hefty is an editor at the Coloradoan. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @jenniferhefty. If you have feedback or ideas about our coverage, email Jennifer or email@example.com.
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