Blind spot in gratitude for essential workers

First responders. Docs. Nurses. Grocery store workers. Food delivery drivers.

They've all been thanked - in press conferences, TV commercials and Facebook posts.

They all deserve our gratitude, to be sure. A talk I had with a good friend of mine who's nurse at a Chicago hospital really brought that home for me. I also was touched by videos of nurses that aired during the April 18 "One World: Together at Home" coronavirus special. Their faces were bruised from so many hours of wearing surgical masks and face shields.

But I've noticed one group of essential workers has been noticeably absent from any of these expressions of gratitude: the press.

Rest assured, journalists know where we stand. We rank at the bottom of the bottom when it comes to professions people respect. Even lawyers are more popular than we are. But this oversight - at this time - is simply too big to be left unmentioned.

Think about all the reporters in Washington who have been forced to spend more than an hour a day - for months - listening to the president at his daily press conferences. Those are hours and hours of their lives that they'll never get back.

The same could be said of the reporters covering Gov. JB Pritzker's daily briefings. The press corps is at the Thompson Center at 2:30 every afternoon, just like sign language interpreter Michael Albert.

But is anyone writing stories about their motivation for their work? Nope. (I realize that would be a conflict of interest, but you get my point.)

Here at The Hinsdalean, we are relieved that we do not have to attend daily briefings. Our job has gotten harder in some ways (with less news to report and the same number of pages to fill) and easier in others (we can cover virtual board meetings from the comfort of our own homes).

All joking aside, we've been lucky to have many people take the time to thank us for what we're doing.

"Thank you for being such good partners to us. Even though we're all physically separated right now, it is good to know that we're not alone," the executive director of one nonprofit wrote in an email last week.

"What a great idea to make thank you signs available. In this time of fear and uncertainty, we need to value and appreciate one another and especially those who risk their safety to help others," one resident wrote on the envelope she used to drop off $10 for the sign campaign we co-sponsored.

"The Hinsdalean is certainly a significant pillar in Hinsdale and represents what it means to be part of a community," another reader wrote about the campaign, which so far has raised $2,818 to buy gift cards for medical personnel and meals for the police and fire departments.

In other emails and phone calls in the weeks since March 13, so many have expressed their appreciation for the fact that we continue to publish the paper each week.

"It was nice to have that bit of predictability on my driveway in a very unpredictable time," one friend wrote me early in the quarantine.

On behalf of all of us here, let me say, "You're welcome." And thank you. Your support means more than you know.

- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers

can email her at

[email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean