What a wonderful concept – turning Johnstown Magazine’s annual “Beautiful People” edition into a salute for those who have been doing beautiful work on behalf of others while the coronavirus pandemic has impacted our region.
You’re meeting people on the front lines – some of whom work in medical facilities and others serving in life-sustaining capacities such as law enforcement, food service, postaldelivery and faith. They have kept us safe, fed and spiritually connected during this unprecedented time.
The world of news did not shut down during the virus. Local media were more valuable than ever, as readers sought out the latest on safety regulations plus virus testing, prevention and treatment for themselves and their families.
For six weeks, The Tribune-Democrat featured local “Health Care Heroes” on its front page, and has been working with area doctors and scientists to answer readers’ questions about COVID-19. We saw digital readership numbers explode, even as we navigated a challenging time for our industry and business partners.
Our journalists put the “work” in work-from-home. Reporters at The Tribune-Democrat turned to technology to tell the coronavirus story – connecting with sources via social media and the internet, conducting interviews by phone and video platforms.
Their work spotlighted people and organizations that were making masks by the thousands and feeding children by the hundreds, or raising money for important social services and to help their neighbors get through the economic struggles.
Our photographers were out and about, masked but undaunted. Our editors and page designers were in the office every day – socially distant but hard at work. And our drivers were on the road, getting bundles of newspapers into stores or in the hands of our contracted carriers, who then took those editions to readers throughout our communities.
Coverage of the coronavirus ranged from the struggles of bus lines and other businesses to the magic of distance-learning and creative graduation events.
We sang and danced with artists creating and expressing for a unseen digital audience. We were inspired by the courage of those serving patients in local hospitals. And we were moved by the compassion of funeral directors helping families find a way to say good-bye.
So many beautiful stories from our beautiful people, shared from their places right there on the front lines of a pandemic – even when that meant the relative safety of their own homes.
Chip Minemyer is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat and TribDem.com, and CNHI regional editor for Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio.