Great efforts are easily overlooked in the heat of day-to-day battles, and I’m guessing y’all haven’t had much time to stop and reflect on the work you and your staff have been doing during this crazy period. So I wanted to be sure to tell you how profound your work is right now and how much it is valued and appreciated.

The heroes of this moment in our world’s history are those who are serving on the front lines – the medical workers, police officers, firefighters, grocery store employees, restaurant workers, etc. – and have been willing to put themselves at risk to help others get what they need. Although their experience is not as intense as that of healthcare workers, local journalists are firmly in that group, going into the infected heart of the pandemic to provide an essential service, even at the risk of their own health and that of their families.

I can’t imagine the mental anguish that comes with the task ahead of you right now, and yet I can see from reading your reporting that y’all have performed it bravely, admirably and without reservation. Great reporting and photography can’t be done from a safe “social distance” and yet y’all have been there covering the decisions of local governments and schools, the impact on the healthcare community, the personal stories of the people and businesses impacted, the fallout in the world of sports (including a very creative daily sports agate page!), – and even going to Tishomingo County to report on the tornado’s impact. I know the hours y’all are working must be insane.

Y’all have been an important source of information to me from as far away as Jackson, and your impact is that much more vital in Northeast Mississippi. Strong local journalism is always the lifeblood of a community, but its salve is magnified during a crisis. And this is a crisis that makes reporting that much more difficult and dangerous.

Please pass along my admiration to the staff. Your effort is heroic, and I wanted to be sure you felt the appreciation that so many share but don’t often express.

Chris Kieffer


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