Opinion | Newspapering in the Time of COVID-19

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Coronavirus written newspaper close up shot to the text.
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By Liz Spikol

This weekend, I had some chest pains, which isn’t entirely unusual. I have asthma, and I’ve had this kind of pain before. Normally, I just take my inhaler and maybe some ibuprofen. But this weekend, for the first time, the pain scared me. Was it a harbinger of COVID-19? I felt otherwise fine, and the pain was familiar. Still, I couldn’t help having panicky thoughts — always good for chest pain — about what would happen if my fragile lungs had to battle with this virus, and whether it was already starting.

I bet this scenario doesn’t sound unfamiliar to you. A sneeze, a shiver up the spine, a stray cough — all of a sudden they seem like symptoms of a question we can’t answer. And that sense of uncertainty — personal and communal — is pervasive now. There’s so much information out there, but there’s still a lot we can’t know, and won’t know, for a long time. It’s a frightening time, even for the non-alarmists among us. The situation is serious and heartbreaking in other countries, even other states, and we have yet to see how the novel coronavirus will impact Greater Philadelphia.

One thing we do know: Whatever happens as we move forward, the Jewish Exponent will be here for you, covering Jewish life in Greater Philadelphia as we always have. Some of the news may be different now, and filed from our homes instead of our office, but our writers and editors are committed to bringing you the same quality of news and information as before.

Yesterday I got a couple of emails from readers requesting stories on the coronavirus and its impact on Passover seders and planning. That’s a story you’ll see from us in the coming days, for sure. It is vital that we continue to get suggestions of that kind from readers so we know what you’re looking for from us. What do you want us to write about? What are your questions that we can answer?

We also want to hear about the experiences you’re having dealing with our new reality. Having trouble getting tested? Had a great experience with an ER nurse? Worried about your kid in Israel, or just tired of being in the same house with your significant other for weeks on end? We want to hear from you. Please send story ideas and submissions to [email protected] and [email protected] We won’t be able to include all of them, of course, but we’ll do our best.

There is no plan to abbreviate or curtail printed editions of the paper. But remember that we are online, as always, and will have even more content online than in print. And please continue to connect with us through social media, on Facebook and Twitter, and we will be as responsive as we are able.

Liz Spikol (Courtesy of Liz Spikol)

If there’s one thing Jews can agree on, it’s that health comes first. So please practice social distancing, heed the CDC guidelines and stay well. We’re all in this together.

Liz Spikol is the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Exponent.

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