Everyone has a story to tell, but not everyone is a storyteller.
That's where journalists come in. They tell the stories that might otherwise go untold.
On April 20, 60 of those journalists from the Forum Communications family set out across Minnesota to describe one day – 19 hours, actually – of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That day is chronicled through words, photos and videos in a collection called
INSIDE: “A State of Crisis: 19 Hours in Minnesota,” and you'll find it at at Postbulletin.com.
That day begins in Bemidji at 5 a.m., as a baker dons a Stars Wars face mask before plunging his hands into bread dough at Marketplace Foods. At 6:30 a.m., the story shifts to Rochester, where an ICU nurse at Saint Marys hospital prays in her car before beginning a 12-hour shift. Then readers are whisked off to Pequot Lakes, where an at-home day care provider begins a long day of caring for essential workers' kids while also supervising the distance learning of her own children.
Then its off to Perham, then Thief River Falls, then down to Byron, where staffers at Zollman Zoo care for animals that require plenty of attention even if no crowds are there to see them.
We get a look inside the “war room” at the Minnesota Department of Health. We tag along as staffers at U.S. Lock and & Dam No. 3 near Red Wing prepare for the first barge of the day.
We hang out in a courtroom, a florist shop, a commercial laundry and a hog farm. We witness the stress and worry of workers at at pork processing plant in Worthington as they go through a checkpoint on their way in to work. We experience lunch at a homeless shelter in Moorhead – and hear the heartbreaking tales of the families who've taken refuge there.
We get outdoors with the family of caretakers at Split Rock Lighthouse. We watch weeks-old colts frolic in Crookston, and we spend an afternoon at an assisted-living facility in Brandon.
We experience solitude in strange places, such as Canal Park in Duluth and Target Field in Minneapolis. We see people fishing, hiking and playing with their kids and pets as they seek some sense of normalcy.
In short, we see people persevering, fighting their way through one day and knowing that the next day, they were going to get up and do it all over again, because that's what Minnesotans do. They battle. They help each other. They look out for each other. Sometimes they smile when they feel like crying, holding back their tears for when no one is watching.
In short, “19 Hours” captures Minnesotans' dogged determination in truly remarkable fashion, and we'd encourage you to set aside an hour or two to experience it firsthand.
Of course, the story of COVID-19's impact on Minnesota is far from over – and the Post Bulletin and other Forum Communications news outlets want readers' help as we continue document this unprecedented time in our nation's history.
To that end, we're inviting readers to participate in a virtual discussion, “You Ask the Questions: Behind the scenes of journalism during a pandemic.” The event, taking place on Zoom, will be from noon to 1 p.m. May 7. Editors and reporters from across the Midwest will interact with readers in a discussion of how we're covering COVID-19, and readers can submit questions and suggestions ahead of the event at Postbulletin.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest news event in generations, and while we'd like to think our team of journalists excels at finding great stories, sometimes there's no substitute for a good tip from a smart reader.
So please, help us tell the stories of COVID-19.