© 2020 by The Waterville Times-Helen Publishing

Publishing In Uncertainty

March 17, 2020

Last week started out fairly typical. A few board meetings, some events, a few planned stories.

 

The one indication things might be shifting was a notice from Kathleen Washburn at Clinton High School. She sadly informed me that the CHS Science Olympiad team that qualified for the state tournament was told the tournament was canceled because of fears of the coronavirus.

 

That was Monday morning. On Tuesday night two local school superintendents, Chuck Chafee and Steve Grimm, explained at their board meetings the increased awareness taking place.

 

I attended the Brookfield musical rehearsal Wednesday night, seeing some of the girls who would be playing in a few days as the girls basketball team looked for a spot in the Final Four.

 

By Thursday morning, things were still happening with one eye on how long that would go on.

 

When I heard that the Beavers game would be played without spectators, I sent in a media request to cover it. Before that could be answered the game, as all state winter playoff games were, was postponed.

 

And then things go really nuts. 

 

More and more events were canceled, and we began pulling advertisements and calendar items. A really great story to go as an advance on the Clinton Figure Skating Club’s 70th anniversary show was taken out until we knew the status of the show. We cut back the number of pages in this week’s edition.

 

By Friday night schools in Oneida County had been ordered closed for a month. On Saturday libraries followed. Hamilton College had already moved to online instruction as did Colgate and other nearby colleges.

 

On Monday morning we tweaked the paper one more time before sending it to print. We kept in as much of what we could that happened, because life did take place before the virus slammed into our lives.

 

We have no idea what follows. As of this time we plan to publish each week with a mixture of virus-related and non-virus news. 

We ask our customers to communicate as much as possible through mail and email. We will be in and out of the office, so email is the best form of communication.

 

As we adjust we will work with local businesses on helping them connect with customers. They too are uncertain about how to continue to be open.

 

We will figure it out as we go along, much like building the airplane as you fly it. At 500 mph. On your first time out.

 

We wish you all good health, physical and mental, and that we return to normal life soon.

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