We’re dedicated to informing, helping our communities

At the beginning of the week, I started a column about sports. It was going to be about how much I miss March Madness, the start of baseball season, high school winter tournaments. It was going to be about my quest to find fill-ins to supplement this time without sports, maybe poking humor along the way. It was going to be a realization on how much I rely on sports to relax and get my mind off the daily grind, and how I’ve struggled, but have found other things to accomplish the same goal.

But writing about sports, in a time like this, just seems so trivial. When the NBA announced the cancellation of its season last Wednesday, it started a trickle down effect. We all knew about coronavirus and its potential to wreak havoc in our country, but it wasn’t until sports leagues started shutting down and Tom Hanks announced he had COVID-19, that we really began to realize what we were up against.

I’ll admit it, the first couple of days of these changes I spent smarting about not having sports or the ability to travel freely. But I have changed my tune — now I consider how this is affecting people at their most basic levels — health and ability to make a living. And I want to be part of making this thing better for all of us.

We’ve dedicated energy at all of our papers to providing comprehensive coverage of this situation and what it means for all of our communities. We will continue to do this for the foreseeable future. I am honored to be a part of that. I can’t help but feeling that when my family moved to Ohio just 10 months ago, helping lead teams that serve their community was part of a plan I did not know at the time.

Not only are we filling our pages with important information, we are also trying to do what we can to keep each other safe.

We have temporarily locked our buildings to outside traffic in order to keep ourselves and our community safe. We apologize for having to take this step because our people look forward to interacting with our community members. However, we hope and pray that if we take these steps now, we can get back to a sense of normalcy quicker.

I wanted to share excerpts from a few messages this week that I’ve provided to different key parts of our organization.

To our readers: “As your source for community information, our publications have been on the forefront of the COVID-19 coverage. In order to help our communities stand informed about the virus, we have deployed our news teams to cover all angles of its local impacts.”

To our newspaper carriers: “You, on the front lines of this essential operation deserve credit. You bring news our communities need to homes and businesses day in and day out, rain, snow or shine…We appreciate all that you do and want to say thank you. Despite the challenges our world is facing, we are still going to be printing our paper six days a week, and will still be relying on you to get it out to people. It’s never been more important that people have access to news.”

To our employees: “As our state and country deal with an unprecedented challenge in the coronavirus, we as trusted community newspapers stand as we always do — as valuable community resources that inform the public and chronicle the ups and downs of life.

I would like to reiterate our appreciation of everyone that touches the newspaper — be it those who gather the news, those who help businesses reach their goals through advertising programs, those who put the paper together and those who print it and deliver it.

Most of all, I want to thank our readers. We appreciate you supporting us during a time that is challenging for all local businesses, and we appreciate you continuing to see value in a community entity dedicated to informing its community.

We are all in this together. Stay healthy. Stay safe. Support local businesses. Take care of one another.

Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin The Courier in Findlay and the Review Times in Fostoria. He can be reached at jspeer@advertiser-tribune.com or jeremyspeer@thecourier.com.