NOTE TO READERS: Rebuilding America starts here at home
This isn’t the first time the resilience of our residents has been tested.
Hurricanes like Opal and Ivan threatened and battered. The BP Oil Spill in 2010 presented a threat not just to our livelihoods but to the very beauty and fragile ecology that makes our coastline so unique. Economic turndowns like the Great Recession, 2007-09, and the accompanying banking and mortgage crisis threatened our way of life.
None of those match the magnitude of the overall damage to our health and welfare, our paychecks and educations, our mental well being and future, of the coronavirus. But just as we recovered from previous calamities, so too shall we rebuild our economy and lives into something better by coming together.
Our country perches on the edge of the most dramatic and comprehensive economic awakening we have seen in our lifetimes as we “reopen” our economy and get back to it in a measured, and safe, manner. This is as much about our lives as yours; we live in the communities we cover and as they go, so go our lives as well.
The Northwest Florida Daily News is part of Gannett’s USA TODAY Network of 260 daily news organizations and across the country, and today we’re joining together to use our platform to tell the story of your efforts and will and abilities to the digital audience of 9 million people our 23 Florida properties reach.
That is the intent behind this Rebuilding America content throughout today’s special edition that is a collaboration of local stories by writers you know and national scope stories written by the best writers at our largest papers, like USA Today.
Our goal is to assist and guide, keep our community abreast of what’s happening with healthcare, restaurants, education, real estate, businesses, auto dealers, financial investments, tourist, art, entertainment and more.Today’s special section - a partnership between our news organizations and some of our most prominent businesses (you’ll see their ads in this section) - is a benchmark in our history showing where we are, where we hope to be and the group effort to get there.
Our advertising departments are every bit as committed as we work to get out the news of how these businesses are adapting and how they’ve dealt with the crisis.
The online traffic for the overwhelming number of coronavirus-related stories we’ve written show there is an appetite for the information and we will feed it.
It is ambitious, but no more so than the efforts residents here have shown following every tragedy or disaster that has come our way.
Our battered economy is not a secret, nor are the institutional inadequacies that good journalism has dragged into the light already - like the state’s like the state’s reluctance to release more detailed information about coronavirus victims. It’s also not a secret that you are already performing remarkable feats like organized food drives and gatherings to thank our healthcare heroes, those who risk their own health to take care of ours.
We salute all of those who have already stepped up - from the police officer suiting up for work to the fast-food drive through worker who quickly made it possible for us to grab a to-go meal while many of us still worked from home.
Already we are seeing more people on our beaches and businesses getting back into motion as the economy restarts. It’s not “normal,” but it’s a start.We know our area did relatively well compared to what was initially feared as it goes to the virus, and as fears dissipate, opportunities arise.
This has affected every business - not all will survive and people need jobs. Stimulus checks and unemployment do not go far. It’s not likely we’ll emerge the same as we were six months ago.
Our belief is this reawakening will produce something stronger, better, safer for all of us, something we will look back on with pride knowing we did what had to be done for our children and grandchildren.
And we intend to be a part of that, by your side, cheering you on as all of us do what we’ve always done - pull together, set aside differences and get to work as a community.
Lisa Nellessen Savage, regional editor, can be reached at LNelless@gannett.com; regional director of engagement Mike Cazalas can be reached at Mmcazalas@pcnh.com and market leader Tim Thompson can be reached at Tthompson@pcnh.com and Michelle Mitchell, vice president of sales for West Florida can be reached at email@example.com.