Newspaper should support good citizenship

Published 6:51 pm Monday, July 20, 2020

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To the Editor:

For three weeks in a row, The Tidewater News has featured photographs on its front page of unmasked people within 6 feet of each other. It appears as if the publisher does not believe we are in the middle of a pandemic. In fact, the only photograph with people wearing masks in the past three weeks was with the article by Maxine Nowlin, “From hearts to hands,” in the June 24th issue — the article about David Temple AMEZ Church members making and giving away masks.

The July 8th issue’s pictures of the Newsoms Fourth of July parade feature vehicles; would The Tidewater News print those pictures if the drivers of the vehicles were seen drinking a beer at the same time? I doubt it because it would be seen by the readers as an endorsement of drinking and driving, and that is probably not the publisher’s position.

Responsible editors would mention the need for all citizens to do all we can to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. There is still no vaccine and no cure for COVID-19. The population of Franklin and Southampton County is aging, meaning there are more people at risk of severe illness and death if they contract the virus. The coronavirus is highly contagious. Young people may be asymptomatic, have no idea they have it, and still spread it to everyone around them. If my husband or I were to contract the virus, because we are both over 60, we are at higher risk of seriously negative outcomes. We are limiting our outings to necessary trips for groceries and supplies, but find so many people here do not care about our health. Please consider the community in your reporting and editorials.

Bottom line: Wearing a mask in public, especially when social distancing is not possible, is the responsible thing to do. It protects others around you from your germs; you may already have the virus and not know it. I would expect a reputable local newspaper to support good citizenship. Must I really lower my expectations?

Jo Holloman