Today’s ‘Leader Column’ in the Evening Standard tells readers it stands in solidarity with them.
For 193 years the Evening Standard has been there for our readers. Through world wars, terrorist bombs, strikes, riots and – a century ago – another pandemic we have kept our readers informed and spoken for London. In 2020, as our country and our capital faces one of the greatest crises in its history, our message to our readers is this: we will be there for you again.
We know that you want the latest news on the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. Over the last week, our brilliant reporters have been among the first to tell you about the dramatic change in government strategy, the shift in the scientific thinking on ‘herd immunity’, the impending school closures, the impact on our sports and cultural life, the economic shutdown and the rescue package to help.
We also bring you, through our editorials and comment pieces, informed analysis about what we think will happen next. We do so again today when we tell you: we are only at the very beginning of this unfolding catastrophe. Just over 100 people have tragically died of this coronavirus in the UK; but in weeks many thousands more are likely to die.
Our incredible NHS is preparing for the armageddon that is on its way; but even the best organised, most dedicated health care system in the world would not be able to cope well with the vast numbers of patients who will need hospital care, oxygen and ventilation.
We will keep you informed – and give you advice to keep yourself healthy, and to cope with the virus should it strike.
Alongside this health disaster, our business team chronicle an unprecedented economic crisis – as businesses go bankrupt and people face unemployment. Again, we will not shy from explaining to you the reality of the situation – but we will also do everything we can to help you navigate through it.
While as a newspaper we will do everything to support the government’s plans to help us through this bleak situation, we would also be failing our readers if we did not point out where we think mistakes are being made or more could be done.
Today, the independent mayoral candidate Rory Stewart writes for us on the miscalculations ministers and officials are making, and the dramatic further steps he believes are needed now.
It would be a dereliction of our duty not to publish such warnings and urge that they be given full consideration.
But a newspaper’s job is not just to report on and analyse the news; it is to entertain our readers, even in these dark times.
If you cannot go out anymore, then you will want to make the best of staying in. You will read our advice in today’s edition on how to use the incredible technology available to stay connected to friends and loved ones. You will get our best recommendations on what to watch and read and play, from our unrivalled team of critics.
Of course, a newspaper is itself a community of people. We at the Evening Standard have colleagues who fear they have the virus, and are self-isolating – and we are supporting them.
Our offices in central London are all but empty, while most of our editorial and commercial staff are now producing this newspaper remotely from their homes.
This has never been done before in the history of any of our great newspapers, and it is testament to our team’s commitment and resourcefulness that we have achieved this while producing some of our very best editions and digital content.
But we cannot get the physical paper to you without our printers, van drivers and street distributors. We salute them. The fact that so many of you continue to pick up our paper, and visit us online, shows that you want to hear more from us. You will.
The immediate future for our country and the world looks bleak – further restrictions on the way we live our life are coming, here in London first. But, perhaps, for the first time we can see a glimmer of hope.
In Wuhan, which this tragedy first unfolded, there are today for the first time no new reported cases of Covid-19.
In the journey through the dark tunnel that lies ahead, towards the distant light that now shines, the Evening Standard will be with you every step of the way.
Source: Evening Standard