Friday, January 21, 2022
Jan. 21, 2022

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From the Newsroom: 2022 is already a struggle

By , Columbian Editor
Published:

It’s only Jan. 8, and I am already tired of this year. Insurrection, infection, icy roads — how long until the Winter Olympics? I want to watch curling, a sport in which there are no referees and the winning team traditionally treats the losers to a round of beer. That’s the kind of winter I want.

But as I learned long ago, you give up the right to make the news when you make a career decision to report the news. So here’s what we are doing on these stories:

Insurrection

Thursday’s anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., posed questions about what to do on the editorial page. Editorial Page Editor Greg Jayne raised the question with me last Friday:

“Thursday is the anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Do we want to do anything special editorially? I figure most of the edit page will be related to the insurrection, but do we want to consider an editorial on Page A1?

“Of course, it’s not specifically a local issue. But I am dismayed by the willingness of too many people to underplay the attack or deny that our democracy is facing a serious threat.”

“Hmmm, that is a good question,” I responded. “My thought is the same as yours; I am dismayed that there are some who claim there are ‘two sides of the story’ to armed insurrection. … What kind of leaders do we want to have over the next few years? Those who respect our democracy and traditions or those who must win at all costs?”

After trading a few more ideas and emails, we decided against the front-page editorial, but in favor of an unusual three-part series of editorials, which ran Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, each looking at a different aspect of the insurrection and the situation today. Greg penned all three, with a little feedback from me and the rest of the editorial board, and I was very pleased at how they turned out. I thought they clearly pointed out the truth and the lies.

Infections

The omicron variant is moving through the world so fast that we are having trouble keeping up with the COVID-19 news, particularly since local statistics are only reported once a week.

It doesn’t help when we print a bad headline, like we did for Thursday’s paper. The headline, “Schools to disregard new CDC guidelines,” was technically correct, because local schools are sticking with the more stringent state exclusion standards rather than ease them, which would meet the new CDC protocols. But the headline was misleading. We quickly changed it on the web to a more complete headline, “Clark County schools stick with longer quarantines for COVID-19.” I did get one follow-up complaint from a school district, noting that public schools are basically bound to follow local health guidelines.

Icy roads

Bad roads wreaked havoc on newspaper delivery to homes on hills, in rural areas and near the Columbia River Gorge last week. To keep our carriers safe, we suspended delivery on several routes. We held the newspapers until it was safe to deliver them.

Despite our caution, it was still gnarly. Circulation Director Rachel Rose said five delivery contractors were involved in fender-benders due to icy or snowy roads. Luckily no one reported any injuries from slipping and falling in the snow and ice.

Winter is just getting started, so to keep your news coming in any weather be sure to sign up for our e-edition replica newspaper. Home delivery subscribers have access to this newspaper at no extra charge, along with unlimited access to our website and app. If you haven’t already, go to myaccount.columbian.com to set up your access.

After writing this column I confess I feel a little better about 2022. But I am still looking forward to the curling competition.

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