The Post still has a lot of work to do before the semester is over.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we had a lot of unanswered questions. Our worlds were turned upside down as we had classes put online, moved back home and said goodbye to our newsroom for the year. We knew we would continue to create content online but were unsure of what it would mean for our weekly print edition.
Due to closures of the university and local businesses, we lost a lot of advertising we were depending on for the remainder of the year. Advertisements are The Post’s main form of financial support that funds our staff and print edition.
The past couple of weeks for The Post have been a lot of planning for how we will work together to keep Athens residents and Ohio University students, parents and alumni informed.
Our staff members are all scattered across Ohio and the country. Since the majority of us are not in Athens and for the health and safety of everyone, our opportunities for photos are limited and interviews have been reduced to over the phone and email only.
The Post staff has still been working hard and have been quickly responding to getting articles online regarding coronavirus updates. They have also been pitching ideas on how the pandemic will affect the university and the city. I am extremely proud of our staff for all the work we have been able to get done remotely and the new ideas that have been made through all of this.
Through Google Hangouts and Slack, we have been communicating with our editors and staff on the best ways to continue out the rest of the year. Some plans had to be changed, but new ideas are also being formed.
Working with our business manager, we decided to continue with our print edition every week until April 22 like we would have done under normal circumstances. To save money, The Post has reduced the print edition to 20 pages and changed our distribution.
People who have subscribed to The Athens Messenger will also receive a print edition of The Post on Fridays in the Athens and campus areas. We also reduced the number of print editions delivered on Thursdays from 6,500 across the university and Athens to about 2,000 at locations people can still go to in order to reduce waste and to put it in main areas that people are able to go. These locations include grocery stores, gas stations, CVS locations, hotels and medical buildings.
With these changes, we are hoping to keep people who are practicing safe social distancing informed.
The print edition is meant to keep those at home informed about what is going on in Athens County in regards to COVID-19. We want to keep people informed about cases in the county, updates on local businesses and event cancellations. We also hope to have stories that are a break from the constant coronavirus news to add a bit of normalcy to our coverage.
As for our new staff for the 2020-2021 academic year, our new executive editors are working on hiring their section editors this week. Once they are hired, we are working out a way to prepare and train everyone remotely to be ready for the Fall Semester.
We will continue to do our best to work together to keep our readers informed about what is going on in Athens and at OU. If you have stories ideas that you would like us to look into, please reach out to us through email or our social media pages.
Ellen Wagner is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University and the editor-in-chief of The Post. Have questions? Email Ellen at email@example.com or tweet her @ewagner19.