Published 5:01 a.m. ET May 28, 2020
Welcome to “Rebuilding America.”
While common sense tells us we have a distance to travel in Michigan before COVID-19 is defeated, it nonetheless makes sense to look ahead to what life post-virus will present us.
This special section is a part of a nationwide effort this weekend by the Free Press’ parent company, Gannett. Versions of “Rebuilding America” are appearing in more than 200 publications in the U.S., including 13 others in Michigan. These range from Port Huron to Holland, from Petoskey to Monroe. The sections are organized around a dozen national topics with local stories to supplement. The national story on the auto industry is, appropriately, written by Free Press staffer Jamie LaReau, who is the Free Press’ GM beat writer.
“Rebuilding America” comes at sort of a tipping point in the Michigan virus story. Some opening up of the state is taking place, especially Up North. Yet the stay-at-home order has been extended into June. Organized protests at the state Capitol demanding the end to shutdowns juxtapose with surveys showing most in the state favor caution and a thoughtful, slow return to normalcy. Even whether or not to wear a face mask has become more of a political issue than a public health issue.
And the death toll mounts. More than 100,000 nationally; more than 5,000 in Michigan.
Everyone is weary of what has taken place since early March. The whole story evokes a song lyric from Detroit’s own Bob Seger: “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”
Today’s section is about perseverance — a trait for which Michiganders and Detroiters are known. It offers perspective. And we hope you will find it useful.
Free Press coverage of the epidemic has offered a consistent mix of stories of those battling the virus, the courage of our health care providers, the performance of our state and local agencies and guides for coping with everything from unemployment benefits to buying groceries. Literally, our entire newsroom staff has worked on covering the pandemic. That will continue as long as necessary.
Today’s section represents a collaboration with the sales side of our company. Newspapers have always been an unusual business in that we are a profit-making enterprise as represented by the revenue brought in by sales of advertising and subscriptions to the paper. While a much more complicated situation in the digital age, that revenue still funds our news operations, which operate with a vigorous independence in our newsgathering. The newsroom has one client: the readers of the Free Press and freep.com.
But both news and sales share a goal of helping Detroit and Michigan come back and advertisers had the opportunity to purchase sponsorships of the various content segments in this section. As is always the case, advertisers had no say in the reporting, research and writing of the articles in this section.
I never tire of thanking you for your support of the Free Press. We have been On Guard for 189 Years. And continue to be.
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