Your ELi: Covering COVID-19 for East Lansing

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At ELi, we pride ourselves on providing well-rounded, diverse, factual, and non-partisan coverage on all parts of life in East Lansing, from arts and culture events and sports to local government reporting and development news.

Sometimes, there are intense and multifaceted news stories that dominate our service for days or even weeks, like the recent allegations of police brutality, as we cover them from a variety of angles and provide immediate reporting on breaking news.

And then there are times like now, when the news feels relentless.

Last night, the state reported that Michigan now has 12 cases of COVID-19 and the Governor announced K-12 schools must close. Earlier this week, in an attempt to slow community spread, MSU has suspended in-person classes for over six weeks. This is an unprecedented public health crisis and an unprecedented decision on part of the university that undergirds our city. Life here is being changed in fast and unpredictable ways.

We know what you expect from us, and we will do our best to meet your high expectations. We are going to be breaking and bringing news on the local effects of COVID-19, plans to mitigate it, reactions from our readers and public, and the virus’s economic, cultural, political, and social effects on East Lansing.

Our reporters are doing what they need to do from their beats to tell us what’s going on. Mark Meyer, for example, is bringing you news of the impact on our high school sports teams. Emily Joan Elliott is covering actions on the part of ELPS administrators, City officials, and local businesses — following on her report from over a month ago about how to prepare for an epidemic like this. Our arts and culture reporter Sarah Spohn is looking at the effects of reactions in the arts and culture world in East Lansing, and our embedded high school reporter Amalia Medina is bringing news about the impacts of virus mitigation on our local youth.

Those are just some examples of what we’re doing to keep you informed. Yesterday, we set up a dedicated landing page to make it easy to find all our COVID-19 reports. Today we brought you information on “how to social-distance in East Lansing.”

We will still continue to report on other major local issues, like the Stephenson police brutality investigation, review of the two development proposals for the DDA’s Evergreen properties, other local government actions, and sports.

But some of what may seem like important news may now not be reported on as quickly as some of our readers think it should be. These will be hard decisions for us to make. As you know, we are a small team of citizen-reporters, editors, and photographers (some of us wearing all of these hats at once) and a robust number of our integral staff are volunteers.

Our promise to you, our devoted and much loved readers, is to provide up-to-date, straightforward, factual, and comprehensive reporting on meaningful local aspects of this unprecedented pandemic and reactions to it. As we do that, as always, we want to hear your questions and comments about all things important to you. Consider practicing social distancing physically, but please, keep in touch with us.

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