As countries and their citizens worldwide continue to grapple with COVID-19 during the global holiday season, it’s time for media companies worldwide to take stock. And to give thanks, despite a year like none other.
Without a dreaded TMI (too much information) moment, I’ll share that yesterday I spent a half-day in a local hospital medical unit undergoing a once-every-10-years colonoscopy. Two wonderful registered nurses assigned to do intake interviews and start my IV walked me through what would happen, what I’d remember, and what I wouldn’t. We laughed about the indignities of colonoscopy prep. They both spoke calmly and kindly, as my blood pressure had spiked due to fear of the unknown.
As I awaited transit to an operating room, I heard these words over the hospital intercom: “Sepsis alert, emergency room, room 9.” I counted my blessings that this extremely compromised health situation was not my own.
Today as I dropped off two gift cards for the nursing angels who helped me, I heard another sobering intercom announcement: “Stroke alert, emergency room, room 12.” Not me, not me, I thought. God bless the sick person, and his or her health care team.
Friends, if your company is anything like ours, 2020 has not been kind. Advertising is off by double digits as businesses large and small face a dearth of shoppers due to mandated shutdowns or consumers out of work and short on money for even the basics.
And yet, if your company is anything like ours, 2020 has been eye-opening in a positive way. Subscribers (also known as our fellow travelers in this pandemic journey) have stuck by us, either in print or in digital, where they can get the vital information they have come to count on from us.
Additionally, reader engagement is up. Those who read our stories and follow the ads we do run turn to us for interpretation, for help, for continuity. They turn to us because they trust us to give them the good, the bad, the ugly, the inspiring … 365 days a year.
They dig deep when we ask for their support to continue a reader-backed Christmas fund that delivers toys and food (this year in vouchers) to those most in need among our community’s ranks. Their kids send in their masterful artwork when we run a Halloween colouring contest in our pages. They find ways to pay more for subscriptions to support the work of our journalists as our prices go up over time.
Please find a way to feel grateful for the role each of us has in this business of news media. As it was for me in the relative comfort of an OR holding bay — while hearing overhead about true disasters — it could be so, so much worse.
May 2021 be even a measure better than 2020.