From the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has now so quickly changed the world, life at The Beachcomber changed. It has never been this way before.
We at the paper find ourselves facing the same uncertainty as many of our readers surely do, and the same frustrations. Not spared from the economic impacts of the virus ourselves, we face many of the same obstacles and confusion as some of you may have experienced with questions surrounding unemployment and how to apply for and receive benefits. We have experienced much of the same boredom that self-isolation brings when we are not working on the next print issue of the paper.
And we, too, have felt shocked at some of the latest developments in the news cycle concerning COVID-19 — politically, socially — a disease that we now know has the potential to harm much more of the body than our lungs. It continues to reveal deep divisions in our society that we must continue to confront. For a virus, it is incredibly dangerous. So much so that even in this community, which enjoys the advantage of being a rural island during a public health crisis that thrives on connection and closeness, we must take significant precautions. Discussion from the panelists participating in Saturday’s virtual town hall event made clear that we are all susceptible unless we work together to defend ourselves and each other.
This job — writing for The Beachcomber — is only possible by living and working on Vashon-Maury Island. That is not just a job requirement, it is a crucial need, and what makes this paper your truly local source for news. And yet, even in a community as bound together as Vashon, writing for a paper can be frequently lonely work. Perhaps not as much as, say, being the sole remaining member of your publication’s editorial staff. But those who work in newspapers accept a certain degree of separation from others that simply comes with the job.
But one thing that can be said about this virus and the change that it has brought to all of our lives is that in every way, we are all a part of this story. Those of us whose very jobs it is to hold your trust in our reporting — meant to inform you without bias — are directly affected by this virus as well. We experience the upheaval it continues to cause, and the sheer toll on our mental wellbeing it poses, and the joy it accidentally sparks when friends and family are brought together over the Internet, and stories of everyday heroes become legend. We know what all of this is like, facing it head-on beside you every day. And then we try to turn what we know and have learned into our very best work possible, appearing on the pages you now hold in your hands.
We hope that you, Vashon, will choose to continue facing this crisis with us, with the same inextinguishable commitment as ever to being the best that you can be. It is that attitude that we at the paper are regularly inspired by and appreciate dearly. Your support during this time is invaluable and your faith in your local paper has never been more important. You can help us continue our work by becoming a digital subscriber or donating online. We thank you for your readership and look forward to facing the days ahead together.