Southington Editorial: Racing against the deadline

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Gov. Ned Lamont’s press conference on Monday restricted travel for Connecticut’s government workers and kicked off a domino effect in the newsroom as we prepared this week’s paper. Stories began pouring in as state and local officials dealt with coronavirus threats by implementing preventative measures, lockouts, and cancelations.

We woke to reports on Tuesday that Yale University was joining the Ivy League to suspend their athletic contests. The CIAC quickly followed suit, calling a Tuesday press confernence to suspend Connecticut’s winter high school tournaments. At the time, officials were saying that spring sports shouldn’t be affected, but that might have changed as our papers rolled off the presses. We even started to hear reports that area nursing homes were locking their campuses to outside visitors to protect their elderly residents, and stories were changing quickly with more changes likely underway.

Gov. Ned Lamont

The Observer certainly doesn’t want to feed into the fear-filled frenzy of some news outlets and public officials. We also don’t want to rush stories and risk printing something that’s incorrect. It’s the curse of the weekly newspaper, but it’s also our strength. Getting the scoop has never been as important as getting it right, and we’re not going to let a viral outbreak change our approach. On the other hand, it’s important to get out the breaking news, so residents can stay secure.

The good news is that we have recently rolled out a new and improved website at www.SouthingtonObserver.com that makes it easier to find the section that interests you the most, including breaking news. There are sections on our homepage for featured stories, local news, sports, good times, community news, and obituaries, so it will be easier to target your search. The website also combines all three of our newspaper servers (Southington, Plainville, and Bristol) to create an even greater database for finding stories that affect Southington and its neighbors. These changes will also make it easier for us to keep residents abreast of changes and breaking news between print editions.

We are going to make sure that residents don’t have to wait until next week’s edition to learn about changes from the coronavirus prevention measures. We will continue to print any press releases and stories as we receive them, so that readers can track any changes to our town’s services, schools, or government as quickly as possible. Don’t worry. We are still committed to providing the big picture, in depth reporting in our print edition that locals have come to expect.

We’ve worked hard over recent weeks to work through any glitches or problems that an upgrade brings, so take some time and check it out. If you like it, let us know.

It’s not the last of the changes, either. We hope our readers have noticed that we’ve refocused our efforts in recent weeks, doubling down on local sports and news while expanding our coverage of local entertainment. We were excited to bring stories about the recent battle of the bands at Crystal Bees on Spring Street, along with expanded coverage about community theater groups and auditions. There’s plenty more to come in future editions. Check out this week’s Good Times section (page 13) for a recent high school musical and a weekend event just over the Southington border.

For local bands, theater groups, and venues, make sure you contact our entertainment staff writer, Taylor Murchison-Gallagher with dates and times for upcoming events. Her email is Entertainment@SouthingtonObserver.com.

We hope you like these changes, and we expect to continue to expand our coverage of Southington and its people.

To comment on this editorial or to contact Southington Observer editor John Goralski, email him at Editor@SouthingtonObserver.com.