Peterson: Writing our way out
A month ago, our news staff toasted a record-breaking winter for online engagement.
A month later, we’re still doing record traffic to our website — but nobody’s celebrating.
It’s amazing how much the world has changed in four weeks.
Our mission has never been clearer as a trusted local news organization, and yet, our business has also never been more challenged.
It’s no secret that the success of the Vail Daily is tied to the local businesses that advertise with us. We’re a local news organization powered by a vibrant, thriving business community — two world-class resorts, restaurants and shops, entertainment options and outdoor outfitters, auto shops and hair salons, gyms and coffee shops, real estate and construction, and too many more to name.
And so when our local businesses and our valley’s workforce is facing unprecedented challenges brought on by the outbreak of COVID-19, we’re feeling it too.
That reality hit home in the last week when tough decisions were made across our chain of regional community news organizations to keep each local newsroom afloat.
The challenge of covering all the local news that matters to our community of readers — both here in Eagle County and around the globe — has only gotten tougher with the onset of reduced hours, furloughs and staff cuts.
But good luck finding anybody who is complaining. In fact, it’s the complete opposite — our news team has never been more focused or productive.
Per the governor’s executive orders, we’re considered an essential business, and, as journalists, we don’t take that designation lightly. More than ever before, you’re relying on us to give you all the valuable information you need — from what’s open to how local businesses are adapting to what you need to know about the latest public health orders and the spread of the virus here in Eagle County.
In isolation, we’ve all become amateur statisticians as we’ve watched case counts rise here and across the state. What’s our trajectory? Where’s this all leading? Are we doing enough to flatten the curve?
I know one thing: I was lousy at statistics in college. For this English major, it was the last math class I ever took.
Looking at the curves of an epidemic, however, I can’t help but constantly see the narrative arc — the inciting incident, the rising action, the climax, and the falling action toward a resolution.
Yes, I know that’s not why they call it the “novel” coronavirus, but you get the idea.
How steep will that arc get until we hit our peak? Where are we right now on the curve?
Just like trusted public health experts, both locally and nationally, I don’t have any concrete answers.
There is so much that remains unknown as we continue to wage this fight. The tension keeps mounting.
But I do know this: At the Vail Daily, we’re going to report and write our way out.
It’s the only way we know how to combat this crisis. We’re going to tell the story of how our resilient, committed community fights through this until we make it to the other side of the curve.
And we can’t tell that story without you.
Nate Peterson is the editor of the Vail Daily. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.