The supervisor who oversees our picture and video groups tackled a brand new position this 12 months: worldwide logistics chief. In search of face masks to guard our workers from the coronavirus, he developed a supply in China and positioned a number of orders for our journalists, warehouse staff and newspaper carriers.
As he stepped into the unknown, he wasn’t alone.
A metro reporter — already reassigned to the pandemic from her typical beat on the Eastside — used her “spare” time to raise money for laid-off and furloughed journalists across the nation, distributing greater than $100,000 (and counting) towards an preliminary objective of $60,000.
Reporters, caught at house, grappled with Zoom interviews. Photographers devised creative ways to make photos safely for themselves and their topics, utilizing home windows, mirrors or simply plain distance to get the image. Others donned full PPE to chronicle the strains of COVID-19 inside hospitals. They usually discovered methods to navigate amid hostility and even violence while covering protests.
Tech troubleshooters had been dispatched on quick discover to our South Lake Union workplace, generally close to midnight, when an editor’s or web page designer’s distant connection failed on deadline.
After a very arduous week, one supervisor had doughnuts delivered to the houses of her crew.
I might go on. Suffice to say, 2020 was a 12 months of fixed adaptation — for us, simply as for you.
There have been loads of low factors.
Worry, exhaustion and unhappiness overcame many people as we chronicled an excessive amount of illness and demise. The unrelenting information tempo left us pressured, and the isolation of working from house usually left us coping alone. Within the second half of the 12 months, we grew to become a frequent goal of assaults that mirrored political polarization round our area and the nation. A lot of these had been verbal, however a few of our journalists had been punched, pelted with rocks and chased down the road whereas attempting to do their jobs.
That’s to not say it was all dangerous.
We won a Pulitzer Prize in Might for our protection of Boeing’s issues with the 737 MAX, and although we couldn’t rejoice in individual collectively, we had a fairly good Zoom bash. We additionally scored two significant authorized victories: one opposing a police subpoena for unpublished protest pictures, and one defending towards a meritless defamation swimsuit.
And we dedicated to masking the actual function and which means behind the Black Lives Matter motion and requires police accountability, whereas persevering with an inner examination of our personal biases and blind spots — work that started earlier than this 12 months and can proceed lengthy after.
Regardless of our exhaustion by early November, we pulled off totally distant protection of an historic election with none glitches or missed deadlines. This was a high-wire act that morphed right into a marathon when Election Day grew to become Election Week, full with round the clock protection till a winner was declared.
Better of all, we heard from you — a complete lot of you — that we helped you navigate a traditionally difficult 12 months. In my 35-year profession I’ve by no means seen something just like the outpouring of assist and appreciation we acquired this 12 months from readers.
A typical instance, which got here in an electronic mail to me midyear:
“Your journalistic efforts on behalf of the group all of us share is deeply appreciated. I’m a grateful subscriber and likewise, a member of a ‘weak group.’ [Your] full, calm and science-based reporting is actually saving my life and the lives of everybody I really like. Thanks, your journalists, manufacturing and printing staffs, your supply workers and your housekeeping/janitorial staffs. You … exemplify one of the best of Seattle.”
I’ve been requested how I really feel in regards to the 12 months we simply lived via, and after I first received the query it took me a while to kind via my many feelings.
By now I do know: Probably the most important and lasting, for me, is the sensation that this 12 months — as arduous because it’s been — has additionally been rewarding and revealing. The facility of journalism to tell, shield, soothe and entertain is a good one certainly. We really feel greater than ever the influence of our work for communities in disaster, and we cherish the belief of our readers simply as deeply as we bear the duty to serve them.
Whereas I wouldn’t wish to repeat a 12 months like 2020, and I acknowledge this may sound like a bizarre factor to say, I’m grateful for the window it’s given me into that energy, belief and duty — together with the resilience of the journalists I lead, and the resilience of the individuals for whom we do that work.