The Daily Lobo will suspend our bi-weekly print publication until at least April 6 and will publish exclusively online.
This was not a decision made lightly, and it does not mean we will stop working. But it does mean — for just the second time in 124 years — the Daily Lobo will not print a newspaper for an extended period of time. The only other time was the 1918 influenza pandemic.
Two factors convinced us publishing during this historic event wasn't in the best interest of the UNM community.
First, we felt staffing our newsroom during this pandemic would be irresponsible. Protecting our staff and our readers by minimizing person-to-person contact is our highest priority amidst this health crisis.
Second, with students, staff and faculty asked to learn and work from home, there simply aren't enough people on campus to justify the cost of printing.
For many of us graduating in the spring, the situation is unfortunate, but we know it must happen. Our disappointment pales in comparison to the suffering washing across the world as the days and torrent of news rolls on.
Over 600 people have died in the U.S. and more than 50,000 are sick. In New Mexico, 83 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease thus far. By the time this editorial publishes, those numbers will certainly be out of date.
We take those numbers seriously.
While many students will survive the disease if contracted, their parents and grandparents, along with the staff and faculty of UNM, and the immunocompromised loved ones of all ages may not be so lucky.
Moreover, a disease this contagious will have horrible effects if hospitals became overwhelmed. That's what's happening in Italy, where doctors are being forced to decide if a man in his 30s should receive attention while a woman in her 80s dies in the hallway. It's not hypothetical, it's reality.
During this cataclysmic global event, our mission — to provide you with accurate, timely news about your community — has never been more important.
Amidst the outbreak is a lurking miasma of rumors, mistruths and outright lies. During times like these, you will witness the best and worst of the people around you. Some will hoard toilet paper to resell it, hoping to scrap away a few dollars from those without. Others will risk infection and isolation to buy groceries for their neighbors.
All of it — good or bad — should be available for you to witness. By the simple fact of your existence, we believe you have that right.
At the Daily Lobo, we like to say that we're not student-journalists, we're journalists who are also students. This is a responsibility we are ready to take on, but we cannot do it alone.
Whether you're an administrator, instructor or student, the only way we can tell people what's happening is if you tell us. We know you're busy — so are we — but call us back. We'll talk to you at 2 p.m., or 11 p.m., or 5 a.m. or any other time that you can spare.
Send us pictures, forward us emails and do what you can to help us produce the most accurate and robust articles. We are here to listen and share stories, and this time of global and local trepidation will not stop that.