WAHOO – In an effort to better protect employees of the Wahoo Newspaper, The Ashland Gazette and The News/Waverly and practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the newspaper offices will be closed to the public until further notice.
The Wahoo Newspaper and The Ashland Gazette offices are located in Wahoo at 564 N. Broadway. The Gazette also has a satellite office in the Ashland Public Library. That office is closed to all business, as is the library.
The News/Waverly office located in Hamlow Elementary School at 14541 Castlewood St., Suite 300 is not open to business, even by appointment. Appointments can be made at the Wahoo Newspaper office.
Despite the closures, business at the newspapers will continue as normal.
“This is the time when the public needs its community newspapers the most,” said Executive Editor Suzi Nelson. “We are working hard to bring the most timely news about not only how the coronavirus affects our readers and their families, but we are also continuing to report on the other news that is happening in our area.”
In the coming weeks the newspapers may look a little different, Nelson said.
“Because we cover so many local school and sports activities, the closing of school and the suspension of spring sports has a huge effect on our newspapers,” she said. “Our sports sections or pages will look different.”
But the newspaper staff is looking at this as an opportunity to bring readers stories that may not have been possible before the local sports schedules and school calendars were so drastically altered.
“We are already planning more feature stories about local athletes and other subjects that have been on our radar for a long time,” Nelson said. “And we are looking forward to finding more of these unique people and events to write about.”
The new public gathering rules are also making news coverage a challenge, according to Nelson. Photographs and stories about public events like Easter egg hunts or museum fundraisers are a regular part of weekly community newspapers.
“Without these activities, our news staff is scrambling for ideas,” she said.
Nelson said the newspapers are always eager for readers to get involved by sharing their story ideas and photos, but will rely on them even more now.
“If you know of someone or something that would make a good story for any of our newspapers, please let us know,” she said.
The coronavirus threat has also affected news coverage of local government. While the media is not being kept out of public meetings, the way they are being conducted has changed. The governor has approved allowing government entities like city councils and county boards to meet via teleconference or video conference.
“This is unprecedented territory,” Nelson said.
The news staff will continue to cover these meetings, Nelson said, and will strive to bring readers the most recent information in a timely and accurate manner.
The advertising department is also still hard at work at all three newspapers. Advertising Director Dawn Roth said her staff is happy to make appointments with customers.
To call with a news item or schedule an appointment with a sales rep, call 402-443-4162 for both Wahoo and Ashland and call 402-786-2344 for Waverly.
Staff will be observing public gathering rules put in place by the federal government of less than 10 people and will be using social distancing measures to protect the public. For persons who have to conduct business in person, appointments must be made ahead of time. Visitors will be met at the front door and staff will maintain a six-foot distance as per the CDC guidelines. If a customer is coming to pick up a newspaper, we will still observe this rule, Nelson said.
“We need to keep our staff as healthy as possible so we can keep bringing you the local news you expect,” she said. “We also want to keep our customers safe during this time.”
Business can also be conducted via email. The email addresses for the newspapers are as follows.
News items – firstname.lastname@example.org
News items – email@example.com
News items – firstname.lastname@example.org